Monday Musings: Thoughts From The Beach
“For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It's always our self we find in the sea.”
― E.E. Cummings
On Friday, I spent the day lounging in a chair under the bright Florida sunshine; my feet in warm sand while listening to the perfect summer playlist. When I needed a refresh, I waded in the Gulf waters. It was a lovely day with family.
The beach is the ideal place to recharge. Surrounded by nature's beauty, it's hard not to feel optimism and delight. You're surrounded by vibrant colors -- the blue sky, the turquoise waters and the bright umbrellas along the shoreline.
Is there anywhere else I'd rather be? I asked myself. The answer was a resounding no. It's precisely where I wanted to be and needed to be, especially after a challenging year.
Closing my eyes and feeling the sun's warmth against my skin, I reflected on the last year and my hope for the future. When I think of the last 15 months, the most dominant feelings I experience are grief and loss. It hasn't always been this way. For several months, I felt mostly hopelessness and frustration. But, in the early spring new emotions came onto the scene. I began to experience sadness over the loss of time, particularly as we began to transition to life like it was prior to COVID-19.
Fifteen months ago, I had a seventh grader, fourth grader and first grader. This spring ushered in transitions for our family. High school orientation for my oldest, true middle school for my middle and third grade for my youngest. How did we get from seventh grade to high school this fast? Didn't we have more time to prepare? These questions welcome unpleasant feelings; mostly anxiousness and regret.
As much as I've lost since March 2020, I've also gained insight. The slower pace of life in the early months, and the fleeting sense of time more recently, provided me the discernment to do things differently post-pandemic. I am committed to these promises.
For one, our family's overwhelming and unsustainable calendar isn't welcome back into our home. If we are stretched too thin, it's okay to say no. It allows us to say yes to family time and less stress. Now, saying no feels more like a gift than a punishment. (As I type this I feel an overwhelming sense of relief at the admission.)
Late in the afternoon, as we packed up our sand-coated belongings, we were tired and sun-kissed, but thankful for the beautiful weather and time on the picturesque beach. I suppose that describes where I am now -- while feeling exhausted I also feel thankful. The burdens of the last year gifted me wisdom for the future.