I’ve been at the beach for the better part of this week, which has been really fun. My grandparents have a beach house about an hour south of home, and my immediate family stayed there for three nights. The house was built in the 1940’s and really hasn’t been modified since. It doesn’t have the commodities of air conditioning or – dare I say it? – the Internet, but I think it’s almost better that way. While it was frustrating to not get online whenever I wanted, especially since I’m taking a class via the Internet, it was actually very refreshing. I didn’t have the “luxury” of being able to be plugged into a computer for the entire vacation. And when I absolutely needed something online, I could borrow my mom’s new phone and check it really quickly, then return back to whatever I was doing before. (My brothers, on the other hand, didn’t have the ability to unplug completely: the beach house does have cable television, which is not something we have at home. Needless to say they were planted in front of a box for most of the trip.)
There were a few things I noticed on this trip that I want to share (one of which I already did: how nice it is not to have Internet sometimes). Sunday was Father’s Day, and for this special occasion almost my entire family gathered at the beach house to celebrate my grandpa and the other dads that were there. My cousins and sister – each of them five years old – spent a lot of time on the beach and in the water, swimming around and just exploring life. It struck me, as they would swim near the grimy, mussel-encrusted dock, that little kids have a lot less fear than adults do (or at least, they have less fear than this adult does). The three of them would jump in the water over and over, then swim to the dock and try to hoist themselves up – regardless of what their legs and arms were touching – just so they could jump in again.
I could never do that. I didn’t go near the water at all while I was down there this week. Usually I’m the type of person you can’t keep out of the ocean, but there’s something about that bay that is a little questionable in my mind. Also, I ask so many questions, way more than they ever would. Like, is the water cold? Why’s it that color? What’s the bottom feel like if I swim to shore? Then the “what if”s start coming: What if I get tangled in the seaweed? What if I get stung by a jellyfish? What if there’s a crab lurking between the mussels on the dock, and upon brushing by it it reaches out and pinches me?
These are my legitimate fears. But what I find so neat is that little kids don’t have them. Sure, some might be hesitant. But most of them just want to jump in the water and try it for themselves. This is what I hope for: to have the courage of a child who is most interested in exploring the world. To stop asking questions sometimes and to just try something new.
Changing topics: I got really excited today because I finally bought Eat, Pray, Love. I’ve been eyeing this book for a while now, since I’ve heard that it’s supposed to be really good, and it’s on my list of books to read this summer. So when I saw it in a quaint little bookstore this afternoon, I knew I had to get it. I started as soon as I got home and just couldn’t put it down… that is, until I went to my friend Rachael’s house (whose tangent will be continued later).
There’s just something about this book that tells me that it’s going to have an impact on my life, which makes me very excited. It seems to offer hope for the future and help, but not in a self-help-book sort of way. I feel like it has the ability to open my eyes to something and to make me think differently than I already do. In the thirty-ish pages that I’ve read, I’ve already learned something: sometimes, it’s good to be selfish.
This is especially hard for me. I feel very conceited and, well, anti-humble for saying it, but I’m just the type of person that puts everyone else first. I rarely think about what I need and want, and I’m usually confused and indecisive when I do. Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the book, gave an example of little things she wanted, like, “I want to buy a pencil case.” I think this is very important to do sometimes. Every once in a while I need to remember to ask myself that – what do I want? What would make me happy right now? So often the answer is, “To write,” which is something the author (obviously) does quite a bit, but I also want to make sure I get other little things in there too (like right now I want food – I haven’t eaten in over twelve hours, but that’s mostly because I haven’t been hungry until now…). On a similar note, I’m really thankful for my boyfriend’s efforts to make me selfish on occasion – he’s very good with asking me what I want, and I appreciate all of his patience when I sit there staring blankly at him because I just don’t know. So this is my second hope: to think of myself first every once in a while. Because after all, this is my life.
So, about Rachael’s. I must start out by describing my amazing friend and the relationship we’ve had. Rachael is a year younger than me, and we met during her freshman year of high school. Somewhere in between swim season that year and the beginning of the next year we became really good friends. The two of us only became closer as time went on, and now she’s definitely one of my best friends. I can’t really do our friendship justice in the lack of time I have, so let me sum it up by saying this: even though we live far away from each other, and even though we don’t talk nearly as often as we should, I love Rachael because we can start talking (after months of not saying much to each other) and pick up exactly as we left off. There’s never any awkwardness and there’s never any lag in our conversation. We understand each other completely, and we can truly be ourselves when we’re together.
So tonight at Rachael’s, nothing momentous happened. It wasn’t a sudden realization of something, a sharp smack on the back of the head or an awakening to a new idea or thought. But it was a bunch of little things. It was sitting together talking for hours about anything and everything that had been on our minds lately. We got to talk through our problems and fears and hear what the other person had to say. We laughed together and almost cried too. We shared stories and feelings and memories of things long in the past, but we also had hope for the future. I love having Rachael in my life, and with the kind of friendship we have, I’m not afraid of losing it anytime soon.
One thing I love about Rachael especially is how vividly she sees life. I like this because I feel that this is something we really connect on – we have similar experiences where we just view life as being truly good and can somehow share that feeling with each other. I can’t describe it any better than that right now – life is just so good.
I got really happy when “I Melt With You” by Modern English started playing while I was driving home from her house. There’s nothing that special about this song, but just hearing it made me happy. It reminded me of my childhood – I definitely remember listening to it back then too – and just made me smile all the way home. (If you want to hear it, here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuN6gs0AJls)
Thank you, God, for giving me this week. For giving me these opportunities, for keeping my friends safe. Thank you for blessing me with so much. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.