The Greek Island Fantasy

(This is a rewrite of a post from June 2010.)

I was hanging with another self-employed coach/writer friend recently and we were both having a hard day.

One of those days in which you wonder, “What is it I do? And why?” You may bemoan not becoming a nuclear physicist because at least they know how to split atoms.

Of course, we all have these days, the 58 inches of snow days, the I hate my job days, the I hate being a mom days, the I hate my health days. Life can just be asphalt-hard.

The kind of days in which your dreams, which were once so shiny and promising, now resemble false fronts on a movie set.

The kind of day when you calculate how little money you can live on.

Otherwise known as a move to a Greek island fantasy day. Or move-to-the-ashram fantasy day. Or find-a-cozy-cave-somewhere day.

You are going to give it all up for the simple life.

Give up the struggle, the effort, the bustle, the doing, whatever it is that feels so damn hard right now.

Yurts may be part of this fantasy or making cheese. Certainly spaciousness and time to do what you want. Shelling peas always shows up for me.

There is a desire for wholeness and rest in your fantasy – heed that.

There also may be a desire to not be a grown up anymore or to have someone rescue you – don’t heed that.

But don’t judge it either. We all get tired. We all want to give up the reins for awhile.

Let’s hold onto the desire for spaciousness, for living a hand-crafted life. Retreats and renewal in one hand, and in the other, the exhilarating truth that choosing your life is hard. Putting yourself out there takes a vast amount of courage (whether selling your paintings or putting up a profile on, whether having the difficult conversation with your kid or placing your mom in memory care), not to mention brain glucose. Being conscious is rewarding but also very taxing.

But the alternative is going back to sleep. Not really an alternative, is it?

Greek island fantasies (or whatever yours is) are lovely as long as you don’t confuse them with finally being safe. Finally being enough.

Watch a BBC period drama, read a historical novel, churn some butter and then go back to putting one foot in front of the other. You aren’t doing anything wrong – life is hard and scary and wacky and wondrous, and we’re in this together.



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Carol - February 26, 2014

“Living a hand-crafted life”. Beautiful way to look at it, and will be my new mantra/inspiration for making daily decisions!

    jenniferlouden - February 26, 2014


Daphne Cohn - February 26, 2014

this is my favorite line:

Greek island fantasies (or whatever yours is) are lovely as long as you don’t
confuse them with finally being safe. Finally being enough.

Thank you.

    jenniferlouden - February 26, 2014

    Thanks Daphne!!

BookRoadie - February 26, 2014

So important. I’m with Daphne, the line about fantasies being lovely as long as you don’t confuse them with finally being safe and enough resonates with me on a fundamental level.

    jenniferlouden - February 26, 2014

    me too hence the ability to write that line 🙂

Mary Montanye - February 26, 2014

Mine is the “why don’t I just let myself be retired” fantasy. Easy pull here with a husband who can’t understand why I continue to strive, and friends my age or older looking at me as crazy for going back to work at 64, putting my very personal memoir out, starting a website… Sometimes it is “what am I thinking?” and other times there is an excitement and a pride in my courage and ability to do this. But the fantasies of Greek islands, cheese making and retirement are very real and very seductive.

    jenniferlouden - February 26, 2014

    knowing you as I do I say it’s the creative force in you wanting and even needing expression. maybe it’s about holding the desire with lightness?

      Mary Montanye - February 26, 2014

      Yes. I have come to the conclusion that I really have no choice, and thankfully we can write as long as our minds are strong. Holding it lightly — a word not in my vocabulary lately 🙂 is a good suggestion. Thank you!

Doing and efforting are very different things | Jennifer Louden - May 22, 2019

[…] I start to wish I owned a cheese shop or I wish I was retired or I end up barely able to turn my neck all or I think “Why bother?” […]

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