Mental Health

I had the perfect life in paradise. | by Kate Aldridge | Oct, 2021

I had the perfect life in paradise.

I had a group of friends that would have lasted a lifetime. They were my family on the island. I was never alone, unless I wanted to be.

We camped on secret beaches and woke up to the sound of waves. Coming into consciousness on that beach is still my happiest memory. Marijuana from Northern California. Laughing for days. Diving for lobster. Surfing with tiger sharks and pretending they weren’t there. SCUBA diving. Jumping off waterfalls. Sunday family dinner. Having sex in the hot tub, the ocean, a pool. Taking pictures before Instagram was even a thing. #youwishyouwerehere

Oh, Kauai.

Hiking to the top of the island. Heroic and strong. We were so beautiful. I was offered my dream job.


I chose cheap, cut, island cocaine.

I chose to drink alcohol instead of eating food.

I chose a partner who had been arrested for choking out his last girlfriend.

I became homeless. We lived on the west side of the island on the beach for a month.

Then, exactly a year to the day, I ran home to my mother.

More than ten years later,

Those friends have married, had babies, and pretty much continued on living their good island lives.

I know exactly what I lost. I know exactly what I gave up when I left. And I will live with that for that rest of my life.

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