I’ve always been an anxious person – even when I was a kid. As a farmer’s daughter, I worried about the weather. I obsessively checked the Weather Channel to determine if there was too much rain, not enough rain, or heaven forbid…hail in the forecast that would decimate my father’s crops. In high school, I substituted my water bottle with Mylanta to drink during time outs during tense volleyball matches. I spent 7 years “watching” my husband’s hockey games (he’s now a RETIRED professional goalie, thank God) from the bathroom stall because my ulcer grew with every goal he let slip by. I’ve tried various things to decrease my anxiety: meds, a “worry box” (write down your worries and put them away!), medication, and yoga. But as I hold my downward facing dog and count to 10, high on Ativan, I worry that I don’t have a pen and paper handy to submit my worry in my “worry box.” It’s complicated.
When making the decision to sell it all and move to Grand Cayman, sight unseen, I was full of worry; however, I really hoped that I would settle into this relaxed, calm island life that’s depicted in movies and books. Perhaps my heart rate and blood pressure would decrease, my watch would adjust to island time, and Bob Marley would convince my worried little brain that, “Every little thing gonna be alright.”
It worked. Well, sorta. There are definitely some things that I no longer worry about. I don’t worry about being on time anymore. When something is scheduled for a specific time, It’s now apparent to me that the time is more of a guideline than a rule. You know, like “be there for 9…ISH.” Got it. I don’t worry about dressing appropriately for events anymore because it’s completely acceptable to walk my dog in my slippers and show up to a party in a bikini and flip flops. I also don’t worry about my face freezing and falling off when I run to my ice box car in the January – Saskatchewan winters are brutal people! Brutal! So, yes, some of my worries have floated out to sea. Unfortunately, however, I have developed some novel worries/anxieties that can only manifest from living in this specific environment.
Behold: Top 5 fears of living on an island:
- Fear of Chicken Surprise: I work as a Speech Therapist in schools around the island. The sight of a garbage bin fills me with anxiety, as the chickens regularly hop in to the bins and chow down on leftover cafeteria food. Nothing is more terrifying than angry chicken wings flapping in your face, as it clucks angrily, escaping the bin with oxtail in its mouth. This week, I actually chased a chicken out of a urinal in the boys’ washroom. As all the children cheered (except for the unfortunate child who peed his pants waiting of the urinal), I knew I that I had reached the pinnacle of my career.
- FOMOOS: That’s a fear of missing out on sunsets, by the way. I’ve always loved sunsets – the sunsets over the ocean as summer approaches are especially breathtaking. I have over 300 shots of the sunset from my patio (who wants to come see my slideshow? Anyone? Anyone?) Nothing produces more anxiety than when I’m trapped indoors during sunset time. What if today’s sunset is especially amazing? What if everyone sees the green flash tonight? The anxiety is only heightened when, one hour later, I see multiple Facebook posts commenting on today’s fabulous sunset. AAAGGGHHHH!!!!
- Fear of being in a meeting where someone is TMI’ing to the max: I’m not sure if it’s a Caribbean thing, if it’s the “everyone knows everyone and everything” mentality of the island, or it’s simply because I have such a trustworthy face (haha!), but I have been in numerous meetings where people have strayed off topic and revealed waaaay toooo much information. As a Speech Therapist, I do not need to know the size of the placenta or the rate at which you dilated. Keep that sacred info to yourself. Although mildly interesting, It’s not important for me to know that you have a side job smuggling soldier crabs in your pants from the sister islands (“They were duct taped to my legs! Now that was a long flight!”) It’s also not vital that you tell me about the goat’s head that you travel with for good luck. Interesting… yes! Vital…no.
- Fear of not being able to get what I need on a Sunday: On the island, all shops are closed on Sundays. It’s meant to be a day of relaxation. Initially, I just couldn’t relax on Sundays knowing that there were no grocery stores or liquor stores open. NONE. Like what if I suddenly needed vinegar? What if I suddenly have the urge to drink Raspberry infused vodka? You’re hooped. Hooped! As time as passed, I’m beginning to warm to the idea of “Relaxation Sundays;” however, I must admit to a wave of anxiety on Saturday night, as I ensure that I will not starve to death or remain sober against my will due to closed shops.
- Fear of getting “voted off” the island: We were warned during orientation, nearly 2 years ago: This island is small. Be careful what you say or do. I’m always super conscientious about saying or blogging about something that will offend someone in such a way that will result in my eviction from the island. Picture this: I trudge slowly up the sandy beach with my lit tikki torch in hand. Jeff Probst looks solemnly into my eyes, extinguishes my tikki torch and declares, “Time for you to go. The tribe has spoken.”