We search for things underneath the sand with metal detectors, we search the sea of people to find someone, and we search for memories to be made and those that have become a part of our timeline. The ocean is good for many things above and below its surface. And for me… well, it reminded me of life’s simple truths.
It was my most recent pleasure to visit Delaware and the wondrous seagull inhabited Myrtle Beach! It was there where I had the good fortune to be able to spend time with loved ones. As we were driving out I found myself lamenting that I had no friends accompanying me on the trip. That somehow I had not done enough to garnish a solitary soul to accompany on my watery journey. It was at a road side Burger King pit stop that made me reassess my situation. It is, of course, those random periods of time at random places that make you really stop and think.
‘Why didn’t I have any friends come with me?’ One question that I imagine all people ask themselves at one point and it was at that Burger King that I answered this question for myself. It wasn’t that I was a bad friend; it wasn’t that I didn’t possess the social skills, and it most definitely wasn’t because I was an unlikeable person. The problem was: I asked people to free up almost an entire week in a day. It was a poor idea to try and plan for a 5 day trip in one day. I was beating myself up for something that I couldn’t expect to make happen in such a short time frame. It was unfair of me to expect it of myself, and it was unfair to expect others to be able to come on my whim. In a sense I was living in my own unrealistic world instead of accepting what the reality of the situation was. The lesson was that you can’t blame yourself for your perception of what life should be. Just as well appreciating and loving those who you have with you. In the words of Stephen Stills ‘if you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with’. Again, accepting reality and appreciating your gifts in the moment was my key to happiness. Not soon thereafter we left the burger factory and thus the inception of my second lesson.
The second lesson that I learned: you must be comfortable in your own skin. The first thoughts that ran through my head, and I’m sure run through everyone’s mind,” Should I even take my shirt off? Seriously, I am as pale as mashed potatoes… I’m a little too fat…” And to emphasize the point: be comfortable in your own skin. It is an easier task than I make it out to be, yes I know, but happiness cannot be granted by fulfilling someone else’s expectation of beauty. It is a mark that we could never exactly reach, because we don’t know what their expectation of beauty is. And another point: If all of us were so caught by fear about how our bodies looked before other people then no one would go to the beach! Or else we would all go to the beach fully covered head to toe in clothing or full body wet suits. No! We go to the beach accepting ourselves and our body reflecting not on others acceptance. When we search for acceptance we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to love and appreciate ourselves. And sometimes when we are out there we search for someone in particular to accept us.
“If I don’t catch her eye… then she doesn’t like me. What is wrong with me that I can’t find someone who likes me?” This seems like a perfectly normal thing to ask yourself when visiting the beach, because we believe the Hollywood hype that one can find their soul mate in one magical beach day. One magical moment of being hit by cupid’s arrow and falling madly in love… Let me be the first to tell you: 90% of the time that isn’t the case. The same is true in our everyday lives. At least I have found myself searching the sea of faces for that heavenly goddess to just waltz into my life. It is not fair to expect so much out of yourself, unless you are some kind of Adonis or Aphrodite, and even still love is not like a snap of the finger. You must be patient with yourself and have faith that the day will come where you will find that person. There is nothing wrong with you, and you are who you are meant to be. Just slow down and enjoy the moment and appreciate who walks that journey of life with you already.
So, let’s review some of what we discovered from my teacher mother nature: The beach is not about finding your soul mate. To me the beach is about being comfortable with who you are, accepting your reality and living in the moment, and enjoying your time with who you are with and not who you wish you were with. These lessons are ones that I plan on not only making use of at the beach, but in my ever-day life.
So, whether you’re searching for that perfect person, wishing you had friends by your side, or just trying to accept yourself I hope you find these words useful. Sometimes nature is the best mentor, and I humbly bestow some of her knowledge with you.