Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach. — Michelle Held
Today is my last day on the beach. Ever since I’ve been little, this has been a sad, but special day for me. I always get up a little earlier, stare out into the ocean a little longer, and contemplate the past week a little more.
At a very young age, I’ve enjoyed running on the beach. Our condo is exactly one mile from the end of the strand, so I always run to the last resort on the strand and run back. This run brings back lots of memories for me. When I was young, I’d put a lot of thought into my outfit. When I got a little older, I put even more thought into my gadgets (walkman, CD player, stop watch, running sunglasses, heart rate monitor). Then for a while, it was WHO went on the run with me. One year, I had a buff beach fling, and he went on the run with me, and there was a couple of times I’d be able to get some of my girlfriends here at the condo to go with me. It’s funny to see that this year, I went in my nothing-too-special workout wear, no gadgets, no people. Just me.
I’ve run several times this year, but this morning’s run, I was – of course – more contemplative than usual. I thought about how it’s my last run on the beach as a single woman. I wonder if next year my husband (ah! that’s still weird to think of!) will be able to come, and if we’d bring our dog. Maybe next year, I’d run with Dino. It’s neat but scary to not know what life holds for us…
But on that run, I noticed something I never see anywhere but here on the beach. People just enjoying the journey. Walking hand in hand with a partner, often looking for beautiful shells on the sand to take with them for the rest of their walk. Every other place I go for runs, downtown for example, you have people focused on the building that houses their next meeting, never looking down, never enjoying the journey, never stopping to enjoy something beautiful and unexpected.
Maybe that’s why I feel so different at the beach. This place teaches me that it’s not about the destination you’re walking toward, it’s about enjoying what’s around you, and enjoying the little treasures life washes ashore.