27 August, 2007

Paradise Lost

I have traveled a fair bit - visiting places I loved, some I could call home, and others that I simply liked.  I don't know that I would consider any of these places paradise.  Each has its own draw, character, and charm making it unique.  Plus, there are so many places left to see - like that very large bit of heaven to the north.  Canada is definitely on my must see list (but in the summer, not the winter.)
That said, I know lots of people who vacation in "paradise." 
"Why is it 'paradise?'"
Of course, each has an answer to this question - and each answer is subjective.  
Recently I was told that the Gulf coast of Florida is paradise.  (It is Florida so I doubt this seriously, but to each their own)
"Would you consider moving there?"
Do to professional reasons, it kind of isn't an option but... "I would consider it."
My question then becomes, when one moves to "paradise" does it then become paradise lost?
I live just outside Washington DC.  There is so much to see and do in this area - culture, the arts, fine dining, history, museums, natural beauty... the list goes on and on.  And yet, I rarely to never do any of it.  But then no one considers the DC metro area paradise, do they?
I have lived in San Francisco - which is pretty awesome if you have never visited.  I loved living there and took advantage of the beach, the bay, some of the fine dining and attractions, the park, Noah's (bagels), great Italian food... I loved the city.  But, If I lived there and had to work - pull the ten hour days, fight traffic and the commutes - would it still be as fabulous?
Rome is a fabulous city as well, but how often to they notice all the wonder that lives within their midst?
I question whether, if one moves to paradise - lives, works, and is surrounded by paradise - does it remain the paradise that it once was?  Does it continue to earn its label?  
Or does its image begin to tarnish or fade when cast in the light of the every day grind that makes up our reality?
Then we are left seeking another paradise where we can escape paradise lost. 


Michael C said...

I don't think you could live, work and always been in what you had previously believed to be paradise. There can be too much of a good thing.

Paradise is to be visited, enjoyed and then left behind. Perhaps if we are one of the few lucky souls who get to leave it all behind and spend our remaining days barefoot in a tropical beach side bungalow, it might be different. But really, who gets to do that anymore?

Unknown said...

Be very afraid if anyone tells you Florida's Gulf Coast is Paradise.

JustRun said...

It is for that very reason that I always say I couldn't do it full time. My paradise (or paradises, of that's word) always has to be a little bit of an escape.

Kennethwongsf said...

A lost paradise can also be regained. Since I've lived in San Francisco for nearly two decades, I begin to take certain things about the city for granted--like the view from the Golden Gate Bridge, the foamy beaches, the little hidden Dim Sum places in China Town, and so on. But then, once in a while, I'll witness some reminder, like a tourist getting teary eyed at the middle of the Bridge or a lovely woman playing with her dog by the Dutch Windmill near Ocean Beach. Then, suddenly, I'm back in Paradise. (And I didn't even need Virgil or Beatrice to guide me back.)

The Exception said...

Michael C - I tend to agree. Paradise, for me, if it exists as a place, is an escape - a vacation. If I lived there... I am not sure it would remain paradise.

Wombat - Pray tell, where is your paradise given it isn't Florida?

Just Run - Perhaps part of it being paradise is because it is an escape?

Kenneth - That happens to me here as well. There are little things that I find or witness that remind me just how much I do enjoy living here - though I am not sure it is paradise!

Do you think SF is your paradise?

Anonymous said...

It's all in attitude and taking time to smell the roses. If you're in a good situation/place its a matter of appriciating it...

Kennethwongsf said...

I'm with Ruby. I think, if I enjoy the company of the person I'm with and my mood is right, I can be sitting in the Nevada desert's infernal heat, yet hail it as Paradise.

I do love San Francisco, though. I love how it looks in the fog, how it lies by the Bay with its distinct skyline, how it twinkles at night, and how it wakes up to a curious mix of Bohemians, hipsters, young Dot-Com chasers, and new Beat poets every morning. It is, I think, the best place to leave one's heart behind, lose it, or regain it.

cathouse teri said...

I would want to live a meagre life in Greece. Maybe working as a waitress somewhere. Making practically nothing, but loving my life.

Oh wait. I do that here! And I LOVE the San Francisco area. I don't fight traffic, because I live in Alameda. So I have the best of both worlds.

However, La Jolla has ever been my favorite of spots. Bit expensive.

I think if you take drudgery into paradise, it loses its charm. Leave the drudgery behind and live the charmed life instead.

Deadmanshonda said...

Really profound, my dear. I like this a lot. Thank you for helping me snap back into reality and making me think about appreciating my own "paradise" more than I do. ;)

Unknown said...

Same as you, EO, anywhere without the humidity.

Michael C said...

Yes, paradise is a good vacation destination. I think paradise is also a state of mind. I have been really happy somewhere doing something (visiting with friends, family, etc.) and that seems like a temporary paradise, too.

It always helps though when coconuts and pineapples are in abundance ;-)

The Exception said...

Perhaps true paradise is more about your state of mind and contentment with life than the location? That said, the location might make the rest that much easier!

Last night I realized that I don't have a paradise in the form of a location. Every place has its down side - no place is perfect, which is what gives each place its character and personality.