Yesterday I spent the day at the beach. I had been wanting to go this whole summer, but I just hadn’t gone for one reason or another. It doesn’t feel like summer until I’ve been to the beach at least once. I live about 20 minutes from the beach, in southern California. The traits of summer are inherent in living here, but for me, just driving through the sunshine to work or to do errands doesn’t allow me to soak in that vitamin D that is so necessary for my happiness (though it does allow me to soak in the incredible heat permeating my dark leather seats and causing me to sweat quite unpleasantly. Yuck.).
Summer is more than just a season. It is a feeling, a moment in the year where the earth wants you to smile! It is a calling to take a breath, to pause and open yourself to the joy and laughter, freedom and warmth of the happiest time of year. (Let’s ignore the holiday winter season, because let’s face it, for all the awesome cheer and thanksgiving and glorious wonder, you’re forced back with family and all the crap that comes with that.)
I’m sure all this resplendent ease is in part due to nostalgia. Growing up, summertime meant no school, no homework; just free time to play, laugh, sleep in and just hang out with friends. Sunshine, pools, beaches, parks, and sleep. Ahh summer. So it’s no wonder that even now, when I don’t have the summer off, I feel more lazy, more relaxed, and more at ease with everything… that is unless I miss some summertime traditions. Because nostalgia only goes so far; it is memory. Summers of the past have created a cycle of expectation, of attitude that are either fulfilled and reinforced, or ignored and empty. I much prefer to reinforce my sense of relaxation, so going to the beach was welcome. Like a breath of fresh air for my psyche. And I’m sad that I didn’t go earlier. Such a revival to my soul!
I tried living without the southern California weather once when I went to college. And what happened? In the first two years my grandma died, George W. Bush got re-elected, my cat died, Hurricane Katrina hit, my second-year roommates hated me, Twilight was published, I became depressed and I dropped out. I think it’s safe to say I live here to uphold the balance of the universe. Can you imagine what would have happened in year three? Neither can I, but I wasn’t willing to take the risk. You’re welcome.
All I’m trying to say is that sometimes, no matter what is going on, all ya need to do is that one thing that always made you happy when you were young. Go back to that place and remember your happiness and bring it back with you to the present. And share those moments with others to create new happy memories for the future. Do that, and you’ve started you’re very own function for happiness that is compounded and exponential to infinity! The beach has done that for me and I feel renewed. Thank you for reading.