I just spent a week at the beach with my family and it was wonderful. I absolutely did not want to return. Going on vacation with two kids can be stressful.
I'll admit last week before we left I dreaded the idea of packing. I shuddered at the thought of figuring out what I should and should not bring for a week away. I cowered in the corner as I pondered whether we should bring this toy or that toy and 6 pairs of shorts and two pants or 8 pairs of shorts and no pants. The thought of it all was overwhelming but that fact that I was packing to take my kids and my husband to the beach and spend the week with my parents made it all worth it.
I packed everyone up, except the husband. We packed the car and headed out on Saturday morning for a week that would be both fun and somewhat relaxing.
Our house was steps from the beach we spent each day on the sand and in the water. We would take turns staying at the house with whichever child needed to nap. We cooked dinner. We went out for dinner. We played games. We went to the boardwalk. We walked for ice cream each night. We simply enjoyed.
Being at the beach always makes me think. Whether I am there for a day or for a week, I come away from the beach with a renewed sense of something. Sometimes of self. Sometimes of family. Sometimes of nothing in particular.
As I sat on the sand and finally read my copy of "The Last Lecture" (I had not read the book yet, I just couldn't for some reason. When Dr. Pausch passed I felt like it was the right time. I had seen everything else surrounding the lecture- it was time to read the words.) I realized that as much as I wanted to take his words to heart. As much as I had wanted to take what I saw in his lecture months ago. As much as I wanted to live the life I wanted. I was not.
I was still holding on to anger.
I was still holding grudges.
I was still dwelling on what could not be changed.
I was living a life that was bordering on the words on Dr. Pausch but it wasn't there yet.
It was around our last day at the beach and I was there alone. My book was done. There were tons of people around me. The sun was beating down on me and the lifeguards had on some really bad rap. I mean REALLY bad.
And I sat. And I thought.
And there was no magical revelation.
There was no gust of wind that overcame me and made me reevaluate.
There was nothing.
Just me and the sun and the sand and all of the other people and the bad rap.
And I realized that I needed to let go.
I needed to stop being angry at something that would never change. At people that would never change. At situations that would never change.
I realized that holding on to grudges and sadness made no sense and was not worth it.
I realized that I was never going to have the life I wanted unless I let go. Unless I stopped harboring those thoughts and those feelings.
I had taught my students the words of Randy Pausch. And I asked them to look at their lives and recognize the power of achieving their dreams.
I had not done it completely, myself. I had allowed the anger and the hurt to get in the way.
I am working towards my dreams. I always have been but now I feel like I can work a little harder and get a little further because I've let go a bit.
I've dumped the extra baggage that I packed last week before we left.
I packed a lot. I carried it with me all the time without even realizing it.
I left it on the sand as high tide came in. I allowed the waves to carry it away and the sun to burn it off me.
I always come away from the beach a little sad to leave but having a renewed sense of something. This time was no different. I was and still am sad to have left the beach but I have a newer sense of something. Of how I want things to be.
Nothing is crystal clear. Nothing is carved in stone. But all that crap that I packed? It's gone. It was holding me back and weighing me down.
Now I begin to move forward.
I begin to pack for the next part of the journey.
The part that takes me back to the beach.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:22 PM