A friend of mine, born and raised in Hawaii, but now living and working locally as a contractor, went to get an EKG recently. The technician delivering the test had just returned from a holiday in the South Seas. Naturally gregarious and well traveled, my friend engaged him in conversation.
The technician told how he and his technician wife have work that’s intense, demanding and precise. Desperately needing to get away from the traffic, electronics, reports, sick people and so on, they chose Bora Bora as a destination for their ten-day-breather.
Their “bure,” a cottage suspended over the water, made it easy to get in the water—open the front door, “See ya” and splash! They snorkeled, they took in the pristine beauty of water and landscape—they escaped.
And in my imagination, this is how the technician might have come to the realization he so poignantly shared with my friend.
“I think I may have died and gone to heaven—it is so quiet and peaceful here,” he sighed, between sips of something cold and exotic.
“Wouldn’t you love to live here?” his wife murmured, smiling as lids gently closed on her upturned face.
That was day two. By day nine, the technician, surrounded by a breath-taking sunset during their last outdoor dinner together, shared this epiphany with his wife.
“I am so grateful for this time with you here, babe. Besides looking at my beautiful wife in a bikini all day long, this place is, well, so serene. But I’ve been thinking about your question, would I like to live here, and my question is, what would we do for work, what would we produce?
“I mean, this culture is wonderful,” he continued, “but it didn’t send a man to the moon, didn’t do DNA research and come up with miraculous findings, they didn’t create computers or the technology that allows instant connection between people all over the globe.”
His wife said, “That’s very true. And, we like our jobs, we’re into giving a lot—contributing in a lot of ways. We just have to keep a little of Bora Bora’s peace and serenity in us as we go back home to work. And come to think of it, we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be stressed, we’re supposed to be de-stressing our patients!”
“Yeah, the technician continued, “At home, we are part of something very energetic and in a way, part of a culture throbbing with innovation. Let’s face it, any invention, any creative project, any good work, in fact, involves friction and effort. It’s not all peace and serenity.”
“Yeah, I agree. But honey, I think the question is, ‘How do we embrace the excitement of a technological culture without falling headlong into the stress of it.”
“Well figure it out.” He sighed again. “Funny, but I’m so ready to go home,” was all he said as he reached over to squeeze her hand.