There’s a semi-amusing joke about where the soul goes when it dies. Christians may go to either heaven or hell (depending on their saint/sinner behavior), Jews go to Florida.
Welcome to South Florida.
Most people my age cringe at the thought of the enclosed gated communities where the only people under the age of 65 are the pool cleaners. Here, where each blade of grass shines too green that you’re sure it’s fake until you run your unmanicured hand through its unabashed superiority and realize that it’s just overly tended (not unlike the women of Boca).
It’s impossible not to be reminded of a totalitarian society with its vital rules such as always wearing shoes or keeping the garden gnomes hidden in your garage where they belong as to not ruin the identicalness of the neighborhood. The average 20-something-year-old would not call this an ideal vacation.
I, too, would turn up my nose in disgust at the thought of places that are meant to exclude everyone from teenagers to minorities. To these carbon copied mcmansions that spring up from the ground, burying the trees and the animals and all that comes from nature. These towns where the most exciting place is the local deli where the line of people stretches out the door for the early bird special.
However, after years of visiting the geriatric paradise that is South Florida, I am forced to admit that I actually kind of love it here. Who would have thought that the simple joys of the 78 degree weather and the sight of a palm tree would bring such bliss to my life? Maybe I really have a 72-year-old soul trapped in a 22-year-old body. The stress of the urban, freezing, northeast life has been cured with afternoon naps by the pool and a casual tennis game with a local. My insomnia has transformed into a distant memory as I now sleep over ten hours a day.
I think about the rat race of everyone else in their 20s, the constant anxiety revolved around the unsolvable question: “What the fuck am I doing?” and I feel that I have discovered the what I should actually do with the rest of my life. How great would it be to skip all of the bullshit in the middle and just go straight to the golden age of retirement? I could easily spend everyday burning in the sun, reading under a palm tree, getting my skin pruney in the hot tub (need to match the locals, right?) Do I really need the constant stress of finding a job, paying back loans, and figuring my shit out?
Of course, the residents of the retirement community look at me with disgust when I explain my brilliant plan. What kind of hoodlum am I to think I could be rewarded with something they spend their whole lives working for? Don’t I know that they struggled through wars, economic depressions, and the death of John F. Kennedy, jr just to make it to their golden years? I my blush at my naive idea of finding happiness at such an early age, mumble something incoherent, and walk shamefully to the pool. I sit on the edge and swish my legs back and forth through the clear, turquoise water. I’m in purgatory.