Few things feel more like summer to me than sitting on the beach, the cool silky sand beneath my feet, biting into a juicy peach, and feeling the ocean breeze. I spent the afternoon at the beach with a good friend the other day and we did all that and more. We shared lunch and inspiring conversation, caught up on each others life, walked the beach, played in the waves, soaked up the sun, and ate juicy peaches too. It was a delightful summer beach adventure. An invitation to the beach – I’ve got to go!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about another beach going experience I had as a child. When I was in grade school, our town offered swimming lessons during summer vacation, for free! The school bus picked us up mid-morning and took us to the local beach, then brought us back home in the afternoon. My mother, who has five children, insisted we go. After having kids of my own I get it…she needed the break. I got on the bus time after time, but I hated it! I was afraid of water that was too deep to stand up in, there were jellyfish and horseshoe crabs, and when the tide was low we had to walk way out through the muck to the swimming platform. One day, when I was about 11, I wanted no part of the lessons and decided I was going to walk home. At the time, in my 11 year-old mind it seemed like a good idea. I knew the way and it didn’t seem very far, or so I thought. I’ve got to go! So, with my brother and one or two of the neighbor kids in tow, off we went. Years later, I realized that I scared the crap out of my mother that day, and needless to say I was in big trouble when she came looking for us. I learned that following my wishes was a punishable offense. Period.
I’ve been replaying this memory lately and have wondered what it’s trying to tell me. It seems that I am only just beginning to understand my need to go, to change my route, to wander and explore, and to take risks. Yet it’s always been there. Up until now, I rode the traditional bus through life. I married, raised a family, and took the typical road to success with a corporate job, and it was a wonderful ride that has prepared me for where I am in life. Like my 11 year-old self, something has been telling me to skip the bus, I’ve got to go! For a long time it was a little whisper, just a slight ocean breeze that would tickle my neck. I’d brush it off. Then suddenly one day it roared at me. I’VE GOT TO GO!
This time I wander as a much wiser woman, and my choices are made mindfully – at least I’m not taking other kids along with me. I’m not always sure of the way and sometimes question my choice to leave something good for something better. What if something better doesn’t appear? Part of me wants assurances you know, that what I seek is seeking me. That I’ll turn the corner and there ‘it’ will be. Whatever ‘it’ is. Yet the path is unfolding before me. I’ve had some great travel adventures near and far and more are in the planning. I’m meeting amazing people all the time, and some exciting avenues for writing have presented themselves. And, let’s not forget this unexpected and joy filled day at the beach!
Now I get why this memory showed up and I’m so grateful it did. I never imagined for a moment that a poor choice so long ago would be a later lesson in following my hearts desires. I may not be able to see very far up the road, yet I like the direction this is taking me and I’ve got to go!