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TGFI, or why we say, "Thank Goodness for Islands"

TGFI. “Thank Goodness for Islands.” Why do we say this around here at Island Runaways headquarters, instead of the traditional TGIF (Thank God It's Friday)? That’s a good question, one that’s got me searching for an honest answer. Could it be that somehow our love of islands and our love of Fridays are somehow related, maybe two versions of a single concept?

Obviously, we really, truly love islands. That's why we named this blog "Island Runaways." Like a lot of people, we dream of our next island escape. Islands for us represent a departure from the cares and worries of everyday mainland life. "Thank goodness for islands" is one way of saying thank goodness there are these oases of beauty in the world.

On the other hand, in terms of Friday, we're like a lot of people: relieved when it arrives. Zickie and I (Laura) are always grateful when the end of the week rolls around. It means the usual things: sleeping in a bit later on Saturday, letting our child watch morning cartoons on TV (or on Netflix), taking our dogs for longer walks over the weekend, and generally, lazing a little bit. We Island Runaways are big believers in the healing power of “lazing.”

When life gets to be a constant stream of stress and go-go-go, people need a release, a refuge, or to put it in plain language: people need a break. Which brings us to this Friday's island photograph.

Island Runaways

This photograph makes us happy. It reminds me of a specific trip we made to the island of Martinique, but also, just looking at this image of sand and water momentarily relaxes me. In fact, I've realized that looking at pictures of islands is like a tiny vacation, that lasts for a couple of seconds. But why ISLANDS? The desert is incredibly beautiful, too. So are the mountains. Yet while some people dream of dramatic snow-topped peaks or Saharan sand dunes, our particular obsession remains these isolated land masses surrounded by H20.

One prime reason Zickie and I love islands (besides the fact that he was born on the beautiful Caribbean island of Jamaica) is that they are surrounded by water. There’s only so far you can travel in any one direction before dead-ending at…the ocean. And there you are. You’re confronted with never-ending waves and the distant horizon. You are face to face with the blue, calming effects of the sea.

There’s a recent book, Blue Mind, that I’m kind of intrigued by (and not just because I’ve been professionally reviewing books for years). The complete title is Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do.

Blue Mind

In his book author Wallace J. Nichols explains that Blue Mind is “a mildly meditative state characterized by calm, peacefulness, unity, and a sense of general happiness and satisfaction with life in the moment.”

This concept makes complete and utter sense to me. Of course! When we stand on the sand – or a rocky shore – and just soak in the ripples that flutter across water, it’s hard not to be transported to that state where you’re living in the moment, when you feel calm and at peace. Isn’t this why people long to run away to an island? To be able to savor many of these moments?

Thank goodness for islands. Thank God It's Friday. Both these catch-phrases relate back to a very human longing for a simpler, soothing rhythm of life. Thank goodness -- we exhale in relief -- for a break, for a pause in our routine. Maybe it's simply the arrival of Friday night, with the promise of two days of (hopefully) fewer obligations. Or maybe the break in question is a long-awaited beach vacation, with the mesmerizing and calming effects of the magnificent sea.

It turns out that the desire to be on, in, near, or swimming under the ocean isn’t just pure escapism or indulgence; it can genuinely bring us profound peace. What a wonderful thought.

Happy Friday, friends. Here’s hoping you have an island-inspired weekend.

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