Norton: The gift of island time and mountain time |

Norton: The gift of island time and mountain time

The circular bar was busy but not too busy. There were two bartenders working the bar. Our view was of the beautiful snow-covered mountains as the restaurant was at the top of a ski resort. As the bartenders chatted us up, we took in the amazing view of the slopes, the mountain range backdrop, and a gorgeous blue-sky day.

No rush, service was casual without being too slow. As we enjoyed our break, we noticed a man had walked in and stood at the bar looking for a beverage himself. His accent gave him away as being from New York, and his body language betrayed his not-so-good mood. As the bartender approached the man and asked what he would like to drink, the man blurted out, “Two Bloody Marys.”

As the bartender started making the drinks, the man started assertively tapping his credit card on the counter, shaking his head, and clearly losing his patience as the bartender worked on his drinks. I would have to say, the bartender makes an awesome Bloody Mary, and he takes the time to make sure it’s perfect. As the man’s impatience grew, the bartender picked up on the vibe, and without speeding up, he quickly and brilliantly diffused the situation, asking the man one question, “I’ll bet it’s nice for you to be on vacation, away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and to be up here taking in the snow, the sun, and this incredible view?”

The man’s demeanor immediately changed. He knew what the bartender had just done, and smiling he said, “Thank you for that, and it’s wonderful to be up here and on mountain time.” I watched as the man took the two drinks back to his table and wife. He sat down, taking a deep breath, and gazed out at the magnificence and majesty of his surroundings.

If you have ever spent any time in the islands or in the mountains, you can immediately connect with the title and message of this column. When we can spend time on a beautiful tropical island or in the majesty of the mountains, sometimes things just move a little slower. And that’s a good thing.

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It amazes me that some people miss the opportunity to slow down, to ease the pace of the race when they are on vacation. We work so hard to save our money so that we can take a break, get away from the rush and crush of life, and to bring ourselves and our family to a tropical paradise or winter wonderland, only to lose our patience, getting upset because the shuttle was five minutes behind, or the line at the coffee shop wasn’t moving as quickly as we would like. Instead of letting go of the stress we left behind, we bring it with us and get worked up over the silliest and slightest delays.

This is not about making an excuse for poor or extremely slow service because that is never acceptable. This is just a gentle nudge and reminder to stop and see the mountains or the vastness of a blue ocean. Not just look at them, but really see them. And maybe as we stop long enough, we might just realize that we are actually seeing them for the very first time.

Getting on island time or mountain time, or wherever else we go to relax and take a break, helps us to unwind and let the stressors of life go. If we are lucky enough to live in such an area full time, we understand what island time and mountain time mean, and recognize it’s one of the reasons we chose to live there.

Is it time to leave the anxiety, stress, and impatience behind? Can we get ourselves comfortable with a slightly slower pace? I would love to hear your story at and when we can embrace island time and mountain time for the gift that they truly are, it really will be a better-than-good life.  

Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries.

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