“Oh, you live on Sanibel? That must be like living in paradise.”
– Laura, Lexington, KY resident
Susan and I travel a bit and love to chat with the locals wherever we go. Inevitably, we’re asked where we call home. When we answer Sanibel Island, Florida, we mostly get blank stares or the “I’ve been to Orlando!” responses. But occasionally our island is recognized and some sort of envy is expressed about how our lives must be like one long vacation. We nod and smile and express that yes, Sanibel is a fabulous place to live (it is!).
This is not one long vacation.
As much as we love living on this beautiful island, we don’t take advantage of what living here could be. And our lives don’t feel like one long vacation.
Almost 12 years ago, we sold our small software company and moved to Sanibel to ‘escape the rat race’. I think current fashionable terminology is to ‘live life more intentionally’. We wanted to raise our kids in a safe and nurturing community, someplace where we could breathe and depressurize. In many ways, we have accomplished these goals. Especially when we first arrived.
However, changing our surroundings did not fundamentally change who we are. Both Susan and I have always thrown ourselves fully into work. Within a year, Susan started her real estate career and I was consulting for my old company. In 2014, we started a new business, McCallion & McCallion Realty – our boutique island brokerage with Susan as the Broker.
As our business has grown and become successful, so has its demands on our time. As our four kids grow, so do their activities. As our nearby parents age, their needs increase. We work. We drive kids and parents. We work some more. We do housework. We chill out to some Netflix, exhausted (not the same as ‘Netflix and chill’). We are grateful for our success and for our family, but enjoying our island has taken a back seat. This may sound familiar to many of you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. It’s just that living on a vacation island does not make our lives a vacation. Life is much the same as it would be elsewhere.
But it doesn’t have to be.
Susan and I have decided that we need to intentionally carve out more time to enjoy where we live. How? We’re going to hire an additional support person in the office along with a couple of new agents to keep our business thriving. We’re asking our once-a-week housekeeper to consider giving us a few more hours. And our son is now driving himself (yay!).
We’ll start taking our early morning beach walks again. We plan to drop our kayaks in the bay for an afternoon paddle every once in a while. I’ll ride my bike through Ding Darling more often. We have these fabulous resources right in front of us, but we’ve allowed ourselves to become too busy to enjoy them.
Like us, have you allowed ‘stuff’ to grab up your time and energy? Are you still taking advantage of all that our island has to offer? If not, maybe you too should re-commit to what brought you here to begin with. I’m not sure how successful Susan and I will be, but we are going to keep trying. As we have realized, moving to Sanibel isn’t enough to change your life, you must change as well.
PS: Click here for the original “Confession of a Work-A-Holic” article written in November 2011.