It’s June… and Santorini (unlike a lot of other destinations this year) is starting to get busy. Not quite August-busy yet… but busy enough given the times we are all living through on a global basis. The cruise ships are starting to arrive in numbers (3-5 daily) and the hotels all over the island are filling up. This means people in the streets… and for us people in the shops too. Lots of people… which also means lots of interesting conversations with people from all over the world.
Funny thing happens here… people come, they experience what I call “nature’s perfect storm” of sensory overload and they start to wonder. They wonder about living here, about making the big lifestyle change, about adventures on a Greek island, about magical sunsets, balmy evening walks on beautiful beaches and midnight swimming in crystal clear waters. They wonder about being able to wake up in the morning, walk out their front door with a coffee and be greeted by what is (I believe) the most sublime view on this planet. They wonder about having dinner with friends at a waterside taverna… with crystal clear waters below them and the sound of relaxed people all around them… looking at small fishing boats seemingly floating in the air (the water below them being so clear its almost invisible). They wonder what it’s like to walk through the little narrow lanes and go for dinner or drinks at one of the almost countless bars and restaurants the island has to offer. They wonder what it will feel like to feel free of daily city rituals, to not have to drive in traffic or hear sirens before they even get out of bed. They wonder what it would feel like to go for their morning walk… along the cliff-tops of Santorini. To look out and see things so beautiful that the brains finds almost impossible to comprehend. They wonder…
They also ask a lot of questions. What’s it like… what made you do it… was it hard/difficult… how did you decide? How much does it cost… is it easy to find a house… is it easy to renovate… what’s it like in winter? Their brain obviously switching from left to right thinking. Practical… then romantic… then back to practical… and back to romantic. They run scenarios through their heads… they pose questions and they attempt to address all the issues their “logical” self is putting forward. Some get very excited… others get quite frantic, almost beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of living here. They can “see it”… “feel it”.
Holiday over… it’s always hard to board planes and boats, go through airports and long flights home. Long conversations take place and no doubt lots and lots of notes written. All kinds of planning, to-do lists… must-do lists and must-think about lists are drafted and discussed. Alternating between the “logical” self and the “romantic/instinctive” self… they go through all kinds of issues in an attempt to rationalise what is seemingly a “huge move”… the BIG lifestyle change.
Then they return to work, daily routines, morning sirens, traffic and what they have generally grown to accept as “real life” sets in. They still look at the photos, they watch the videos and they go online searching for houses and the “perfect abandoned cave in need of some renovation”. They talk, they plan and… inevitably, they drift from their dreams (not all people mind you… but the large majority). The language changes from “I/we’re GOING to live on Santorini” to “one day…I/we will “.
Obviously Santorini is a metaphor here… you can substitute “Santorini” for any place in the world… any goal in your life… any dream you have ever had. The issue is not “Santorini”… it’s the “one day”. It is one of the most dreadful, debilitating concepts ever devised by the human brain.
When is “one day”? Is it proceeded by something that creates it? Is it a special day on which you will wake up a different man/woman and decide to change your life? Is it an age milestone? Is it a moment in life when you will definitively KNOW that it is time for a change? Is it several words uttered by a doctor with a very serious look on his/her face?
How do you/will you know when ONE DAY has arrived?
I don’t know why… I have no idea where or why it started, but I have always had a problem with the “one day” concept. I am a VERY patient man… and I will wait and wait and wait, till something is just right… or at least I think that the odds are working in my favour. But the “ONE DAY” is almost always something I am working hard to bring about… never waiting for it to simply happen. I remember visiting my parents every year for over twenty years whilst still living in Australia. Every year I would bring a present for my mother… almost always something to do with the kitchen (she loved her gadgets and small appliances for the kitchen). One day I asked what a cabinet at their holiday home was… what was in it? I opened the cabinet and was stunned. There… in neat rows, all stacked away were most if not all of the small appliances I had brought her over the years. Forget the OMG moments… this was a WTF moment.
“What are all these things doing in here”? “One day… when we need them, we’ll use them” was the answer.
ONE DAY??? When is that ONE DAY?
The following year I made the trip home again. Unfortunately it was because I had lost my mother. That “One Day” never came.
If there is one thing I have learned in life… it’s this: If ONE DAY is part of your plans… put a line across it and substitute it with an actual date. A real date. Otherwise… “one day” never comes _