The small, but perfectly formed, tradition of the Friday Afternoon Beach Club resumed activities today.
Parents and kids gather together on our local beach late on a Friday afternoon to play, swim, build sandcastles, drink wine and talk. It’s an important ritual for us, marking the end of a school week, or welcome pause in the working week, to hang out, remind ourselves of why we live here, and have the same conversations over and over again. We always talk about how lucky we are to be here in Mallorca, and then some cynical soul (it was my turn today to take that role) will pipe up with the fact that it’s not down to luck but to sheer hard bloody work. Most of us work our asses off day in and day out to maintain a modest lifestyle on this holiday island, and the pay off is the living conditions that we can offer our kids – the environment, the small class sizes in the local schools, the opportunity for our babies to grow up speaking 3 or more languages. Is it all worth it, we ask ourselves, and always we come to the same conclusion, yes it is.
We might miss some fundamental things. like pension schemes and secure jobs, but the nature of Mallorca is such that these things are secondary to what we have deemed to be far more important in life. We have things in common with each other, an idealism about childhood, an urge for challenges, and for adventure, and an optimism about the future. We’ve thrown our careers into the wind and often what we’d not dared hope for has come back to us, presented in a different way. Take O for example, he worked for a large American bank in Canary Wharf in London. He’s often calculated what he might now be earning if he hadn’t left it four years ago to move to the island. But his original dream of being a photographer is now a reality, he takes the most extraordinary portraits of people, objects, buildings, landscapes, and he has discovered other talents that he may never had the opportunity to exploit as well. It’s impossible to second guess another dimension where he still works in Canary Wharf, would we have our daughter, would we be happy, where would we be living. But our current reality is pretty good.
And then we turn to watch our kids playing together in the sea, as the Meditteranean sun drops behind the mountains and lights the sky with a golden glow, crack open another bottle of cheap beer, and change the subject.