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a publication centered on life in Mississippi.
Today is May 10, 2021


Island life

By Michael Callahan

Michael Callahan
Michael Callahan,
Executive Vice President/CEO
EPAs of Mississippi

Thanks to HGTV I have lost 25 pounds! If that sounds a bit confusing, please allow me to explain.

First, HGTV has a show called “Caribbean Life.” The show is fairly simple, people of all ages and walks of life decide that they are going to move to the Caribbean. They pick an island, meet with a realtor and explain what they want and what their budget is. Then, the realtor shows them three pieces of property and at the end, you get to see if they bought anything. The show can be entertaining and the guests unrealistic.

Couple: “We want an open floor plan, 2 to 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, a pool, a view and it must be oceanfront.”

Realtor: “Ok, and what’s your budget?”

Couple: “$150,000. $200,000 max.”

Realtor: (sits quietly while keeping a straight face, trying not to laugh while thinking, “Oh my gosh, how did I get stuck with these goofy people.”)

The premise of the show is that anyone can live a Caribbean lifestyle, though not all Caribbean lifestyles are equal. During the COVID-19 lockdown, my wife and I started watching old episodes of the show (there are 19). By the time we got halfway through the third season, my wife looked at me and said, “We can do that.” “Do what?” I asked. “Retire to the Caribbean,” she answered. I sat there with a straight face, trying not to laugh while thinking, ‘who have I married.’

Midway through season four, we had a giant map of the Caribbean, a subscription to International Living magazine and numerous articles and stats about the various islands. We even had the beginning of a “list” of what we needed. The island had to have an airport, with quick and easy flights back home. I needed at least one 18-hole golf course on the island.

But then I had a thought. What is the first thing someone must do in order to retire…. LIVE TO RETIREMENT AGE!

Over the last year, I had really let myself go. I was approaching 350 pounds, had ceased all exercise activity and was beginning to have some health issues. All of a sudden, I had a vision of my wife sitting on a Caribbean island, feet in the sand, a local beverage in her hand and someone else sitting next to her. Well, the thought of my wife in the Caribbean with someone else, that was ALL the motivation I needed.

I started walking, working out and watching what I ate. Heck, even my youngest child, Victoria, got involved. She started finding and cooking Caribbean- style dishes for supper every night.

I now have lunch at the table in my office, eating carrot sticks and Greek yogurt, while surfing on my iPad looking for places in the Caribbean. Doesn’t make the food taste any better, I’m just distracted. I have even planned my retirement days. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are golf in the morning days with afternoons at the beach. Tuesdays and Thursdays are for morning fishing and afternoon snorkeling. Saturdays, I will take the wife snorkeling in the morning with a packed lunch that we eat on a secluded beach, followed by more snorkeling in the afternoon. Sundays will be a day of rest.

Will we make it to the Caribbean, who knows? But at least we have a dream and I’m trying hard to be around to see it. The countdown has begun, 10 years, 9 months and 23 days.

I’ll send you a postcard.

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