Do You Miss It? (Island Living)

Sometimes, people will ask me, “Do you miss it?” The specifics they’re ascribing to that question depend on the context of whatever we’ve just been discussing. However, it usually falls into one of two scenarios: (1) Island Living – the micro view of the challenges inherent in living on a tiny island, or (2) Big Life Change – the macro view of how dramatically I’ve changed my life. Let’s tackle the first one here today.

Island Living

I’ve described before just how very small this island actually is. When talking about life here, which necessarily involves limited shopping and entertainment and other resources, people will sometimes ask “Do you miss it?” with regard to a host of things. I suppose my general answer is that I miss some things, but far fewer than you’d expect, and certainly not enough to make me anything less than enthusiastic about living here.

So, let’s talk specifics . . . Do I miss the following?

  • Friends – Yes and No. I miss those City friends with whom I can no longer get together for a quick lunch or leisurely dinner. But, let’s face it. In our jammed schedules, we just didn’t get together THAT often. Also, I’m blessed with friendships that stand the test of time and distance. My very best friends remain my very best friends, no matter where they or I live. That said, I don’t have to miss the enjoyment of friendship interactions just because I live on a tiny island. Here, I’ve reconnected with old friends and made many new friends. This small island is a hub of social activity and, given the community living, I see far more friends in any given week here than I ever did in the States. Plus, I keep up with friends, old and new, through email and social media. God Bless the Internet to keep far-flung folks connected.
  • Grocery Stores – Yes and No. I miss being able to read a new recipe and run to the store to buy every obscure item listed, at any hour of the day or night. Food stores here are far more limited in size, selection and hours. However, unless the freight boat is delayed (which happens all too frequently), I can almost always get the basics: butter, eggs, cheese, apples, oranges, onions, potatoes, lettuce, green peppers, tomatoes, lime, basic canned food and condiments. During tourist season, the stores stock more and I can even pick up mushrooms, occasional strawberries, feta cheese and tortilla chips! Specialty items, don’t ya know. šŸ™‚ Of course, please also remember the benefits of island living – my beau brings home fresh fish, lobster and conch! And I stock several months of meat in my deep freezer. So, our grocery options are just fine. Actually, when I go to the big grocery stores in the States now, I find the selection positively overwhelming and quite daunting!
  • Shopping – No. Granted, I wasn’t really much of a shopper before anyway, at least not of the type to relish wandering through malls or boutiques. I would, however, put that attorney paycheck to use and indulge in occasional fits of online shopping, which I’ve since curtailed. I just don’t need much and, now on a tighter shoestring, I just don’t buy it! If anything, I’m glad not to have stores around tempting me with pretty window displays. Nope, I don’t miss shopping.
  • Big Box Stores – Yes. I miss Target! I miss being able to run out for those random things that come up as needed from Target, or Pet Smart, or Bed Bath & Beyond, etc. I’m forced to economize and improvise by (a) deciding I really don’t NEED it, (b) coming up with some alternative creation/solution/fix, or (c) adding it to the ever-present list of Things To Buy Stateside that will go in my purse with my passport on the next trip home. Currently on my list, for example: non-standard-sized light bulbs, bath mats, stove burner covers, flea/tick medicine, cooler bags, file folders.
  • Movies – Yes. I didn’t go that often, but I do miss being able to head into a movie theater for an escape, weekend event, or simple change of pace whenever the mood strikes. When we have time during trips to Nassau or the States, ducking into whatever box office hit is playing at the time is a favorite thing to do.
  • Restaurants – Yes. We have two restaurants regularly serving dinners at the moment. Of course, by now I know the menus by heart. So, while it’s still a treat to go out to dinner here and have the night off from cooking (no other carry-out options!), it’s just not the same. I miss going out to a new (or favorite) restaurant, enjoying the ambiance, sitting down and being served, perusing a delicious-sounding menu and tasting every item in my mind as I read the menu, enjoying an array of dishes from excellent chefs, etc. But, it is what it is. I enjoy my nights out here, and I enjoy the restaurant dining experience as a treat when I travel. Moreover, I’ll tell you what I DON’T miss about restaurants – the expense and the extra pounds! I definitely attribute my bikini-ready self to healthy home-cooking and an absence of tempting restaurant options.
  • Services – Yes. I miss easy access to doctors, dentists, vets, hair/nail salons and a host of repair services. Sigh. (Note to self: time to remember your Choosing the Better Life principles – it’s all good.)
  • Garbage Disposal – Yes. In fact, this may be the home amenity I miss most! I can make do quite well with sea baths when the water is off, frequent electric outages, hand-washing dishes, limited A/C, etc. But MAN do I miss having a garbage disposal. Newer homes on the island do boast garbage disposals, but our system isn’t adaptable to it. (I’ll spare you the intricacies of water/sewage/other pipe set-ups and systems.) Yeah, I’m trying to create less waste and compost what I do make, but let’s face it – I miss a handy little garbage disposal right there in my sink!

Interestingly (to me anyway), as I read over this list, it seems like I’m listing a lot of things that I miss when I feel like, overall, I don’t miss much at all! I think it’s because this island life GIVES me so much more of things that I really value and didn’t have before, that I don’t really miss even those things outlined above. I get to eat fresh fish, go snorkeling, see sharks and iguanas, walk down the road in flip-flops visiting friends along the way, romp on the beach with my dog, go to friends’ houses for dinner, witness breath-taking sunsets, etc. It’s a great life!

Perhaps the other reason I don’t feel like I miss all that stuff is that I still have access to it. I travel back to the States and elsewhere frequently enough that I get my “fix” of movies and restaurants and change of scenery. I schedule doctors and hair cuts when I need them. I stock up on groceries and big-box-store stuff. I take advantage of the City amenities, but also get just enough of the City traffic and other hassles that I’m ready to come home to the island! But I still miss my garbage disposal. šŸ™‚

Do you wonder if I miss other Stateside/City daily living amenities that I didn’t mention? Just tell me what you’re curious about and I’ll let you know! As for Big Life Change and whether I miss things in that context, to be continued . . . !

2 Responses to Do You Miss It? (Island Living)

  • Chris Esson says:

    Dawn, do you miss the practice of law at all? I know that at least for awhile I would be just fine being separated from it, but having spent so much of my life in and around the law, I think it would be tough to let go, both emotionally as well as intellectually. I know that there are so many advantages to your situation, but have you felt the need to replace the intellectual stimulation you may have had as a lawyer with something else since you have embraced the island life? Will you still keep your law license up to date, or have you permanently walked away from the profession?Glad to see that you are doing so well,Chris Esson

  • Dawn says:

    Chris, great to hear from you and thanks for your comment/questions! The answer is NO! With nuances, of course, because we lawyers tend to parse words. šŸ™‚ That's all part of the "Big Life Change" part 2 to this question that I'll answer later this week. I'll make sure to incorporate answers to your specific questions. Thank you!

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