Island memories

About 30 years ago, my husband Gabriel and I had just welcomed our daughter into the world. At the time we lived on a mountaintop overlooking a lush valley on a beautiful tropical island in the Caribbean. Gabriel had his dream job working with musicians on a musical radio program. The valley was uncomfortably hot, but because of the elevation, there was a constant breeze where we lived that made the weather idyllic.

Unfortunately, a lot of the time, I wasn’t happy. I guess, even in paradise, you can find poison ivy. So in later years, whenever I would think of the time spent living on that tropical mountaintop paradise, it would leave a sour taste in my mouth. A gray cloud would overshadow my memories.

Until one day Gabriel and I met up with one of the musicians who had participated in the radio program. “Those were the best two years of my life!” he mused. As we shared stories and memories, I was astonished! He remembered things from an entirely different perspective. I decided at that moment that I wanted his memories instead of mine.

That gray cloud that obscured my memories was made up of tiny details, trivial things, all in the past and of no importance to my life now. Yet this cloud had cast a gloomy shadow over all the wonderful details of that time. That very day I resolved to let go of my petty complaints and to focus instead on the incredible experiences that had made our island adventure unique.

This experience taught me that—like in school—we remember best what we review the most. I hadn’t realized that I could make such a definite decision to let go of my negative thoughts. They didn’t have to be given free rein in my mind.

When I count my many blessings and think of all the good experiences I enjoyed there, the unpleasant memories seem inconsequential. In the end, I realized they had just been a part of living.

And you might be wondering what those things were that had so bothered me. To be honest, I can’t even remember now!