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‘It’s an island, babe’

Thoughts on where happiness and magic live in your life.

I live in the coolest house. Hilarious, but cool. (I’ll save the description for another post.) Due to some life changes, I moved out of my boyfriend’s house and into this place when my college-age daughter and high-school-aged son, moved back in with me. Up until then, my daughter had her own place and my son was living with his dad to finish school. 

Moving is nothing new to me. I think I’ve moved over 40 times in my adult life. I try to count the moves and always lose count somewhere along the way. Sadly, I hate moving. I moved away from my parent’s house when I was twenty and moved to Chicago for a job. It was temporary, or at least I kept telling myself. Then I moved back. Then, I got married and moved to a small town in Kentucky for my ex’s job. That was temporary too. We moved three times in the four years while we were there. 

Then we moved back to Texas. Temporary. Moved to Florida, for the love of God let it be temporary. Then I divorced. Got stuck in Florida for a time. It wasn’t as temporary as I had hoped. 

Then, I moved to California for a job. This time my kids didn’t come with me, me so they could finish school where they were. That made that move SUPER TEMPORARY! Then, I moved back to Texas and eventually my newly beloved Austin. Now I have all my babies under my roof and I keep reminding myself to soak it up because I know this is only temporary and before long they will be off and moving on their own. 

The difficult thing with every single move is that I ached, to the bone, to finally feel like I was ‘home’. I was so over ‘temporary’. I wanted a place to belong. I wanted that ache to go away and finally arrive at the place that would make me happy. 

I wanted to find happiness in a place. I wanted to find happiness in a job. I wanted to find happiness in a purpose. I wanted to find happiness, more than anything, in a relationship. 

Happiness was always out there, it just eluded me.

If you’ve read my work for any amount of time, then you know I love obscurely random stupid movies. Did you ever see French Kiss with Meg Ryan? Um, yeah, I have it memorized. “My ass is twitching. You people make my ass twitch.” Yeah, yeah. I know, you never saw it. But, I did, and I watched the shit out of it somewhere around 1995.

There was another obscure movie from around the same time, maybe a few years later called Six Days Seven Nights. It starred Harrison Ford and Anne Heche. I even stole lines from that movie and used them in my speeches when I was traveling the country working in elections. Since most people haven’t seen the movie, I got away with it. I can appreciate a great line, even in a sort of crappy movie. 

But, there was one line from the movie that stood out to me and still does. 

Harrison Ford is playing the part of Quinn, a crusty old pilot who lives on an island and flies the tourists back and forth from the main island. Anne Heche’s character has arrived at the island with her beau and happens upon a drunk Quinn at the beach bar. They strike up a conversation about all the couples who have arrived on the island looking for the happiness and magic in their relationship. 

They come here looking for the magic, hoping to find romance, when they can’t find it anywhere else.

Maybe they will.

It’s an island, babe. If you didn’t bring it here, you won’t find it here.

See there? Cheesy movies dropping loads of truth on your ass! 

One thing I’ve learned, and have to remind myself daily to keep learning, is that magic, happiness, and contentment are exactly where you are. You bring the magic to the island. The island doesn’t hold your magic. 

The big shift happens when you stop looking to the next thing to bring you happiness and practice gratitude exactly where you are. When I start to feel like I’d be happy if only….(fill in the blank.) I go into overdrive of practicing gratitude in the exact moment, location, job, and boyfriend. And the ache goes away. 

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