How Can It Get Any Better Than This?


Live by the beach. Tick. Ocean view from the house. Tick. Job. Tick. Job in nice environment. Tick. Job with ocean view. Tick. Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean. Tick. Great roommates. Tick. New friends. Tick. Time for writing. Tick. Tan. Tick. Time for yoga. Tick. Access to awesome yoga deck. Tick. Yoga deck with ocean view. Tick. Seamless move from New York to Hawaii. Tick. Brand new life in paradise. Tick.

It’s so easy to tick boxes. I’m good at ticks, at drawing boxes. Once when I was breaking up with an ex I made a list, a pros and cons of sorts, reasons why I should or shouldn’t leave him. The list told me I had to stay. How can you leave a list with only ticks? You go over late at night and cry and cry and cry.

Peace doesn’t come with a tick box. I’ve known this for a long time but I still can’t seem to grasp the concept. Even though I know better, my mind is still waiting for someone to come save me. It’s the same narrative all the time, the one I’ve been telling myself for years. The names change. But someone will show up. Someone will get me out of this mess.

What’s the big mess? someone asked me. Here, I said, holding my head. Oh babe, he said, there’s no way out of that. He kissed my temple, told me he loved me for my big messy head. Someone else told me I should pray my way out of it.

You can’t get out by moving. You can move anywhere but you’re still going to be that lost piece of human when you get there. You’re not waking up alone in a new place like you were so desperate to do. You wake up in a different bed in a new room but it’s all the same. You still have to find your glasses and wash your hair. You still have to wake up with your damn self. Welcome to paradise.

We’ve been playing this game. It doesn’t have a title yet but perhaps we will call it “How Can It Get Any Better Than This?” We spent Monday being big tourists and drove around the island to beautiful spots. Some people plan their entire lives around a one-week vacation to Hawaii, and here we are playing out our little lives here. I’m not completely deranged, I realize this, appreciate it every day. I mean, the sun sets over the ocean right in front of us, sometimes it feels like the rays touch our kitchen.

Anyway, the game kicks off when we’re in the middle of something awesome. Lying on tree branches over the water, napping on a huge blanket in the late sun, looking out to Maui, eating Mexican food after a lot of swimming, lying in the back of a truck staring at the stars. We then start suggesting things that would make the already ideal situation even better. Camping gear to spend the night, a good camera, a canopy bed, a telescope, a glass dome house on the hill, more salt for the salsa. It makes me laugh every time, brings me back from wherever the hell I followed my mind. They’re such tangible examples of how mad we are. Always. Wanting. More. I like the game as a reminder of Buddha’s teachings about cravings and aversions, how we’ll always keep wanting and wanting and wanting unless we learn to let go of the wanting.

I’m feeling really human this morning, I said to my roommate when I decided to drink a mug of cold coffee left on the table by someone else. How do you normally feel? she asked.

Jennifer ChardonComment