I'm sitting on a Key West fishing boat, surrounded by friends and my family. The Florida sun is blazing down, changing my near-stark-white Polish/English skin a dusky shade of pink, while the spray from the sea cools my shoulder.
I tilt my head back, close my eyes and listen to the sound of the engine, a low roar, as it propels us to the next spot of calm. I hear my child laugh and open my eyes to see her face holding a wide, tall grin that is pure joy itself.
My daughter reaches out to point at the dolphins that are swimming alongside us. While I'd expect that visage to make my heart burst out of my chest, it doesn't. Instead, it settles quietly and contentedly as I allow myself to be fully immersed in this beautiful, golden moment.
And I think, as I'm here, that this is it. This is paradise. No palm trees or sunsets needed. Just sunshine, laughter and loved ones.