Tuesday, June 4, 2013

lessons from the ocean

“The things you own end up owning you. 
It's only after you lose everything that you're free to do anything.” 
― Chuck Palahniuk

     As we walked through the sand and decided on a spot on the beach, the lifeguard came over and
told us how our giant umbrella had to be back behind him so he could see clearly down the shore.

I was so embarrassed as I slowly realized, we were that family.  

You know, the super pale, Northern family dragging way too much and bickering over small things.  I felt silly and not really happy.  I felt out of place. 

The next day, after parasailing and a few experiences that really felt like living...   I was putting Jude to bed and Joel was out on the beach trying to fly a kite with Jack; I watched from the balcony.  

I decided to let go of the idea of "perfect" and headed outside past Jude's bedtime, barefoot, in a floor length sundress with no bra and a single towel for Jude to sit on. 

I went out and played in the water, chased Jack, built a sandcastle.  We buried Jack in his evening clothes and I let Jude get all sandy while playing with buckets.  We got soaked and we walked the beach.  We laughed and played and let go of the idea of perfect.  What's perfect?  Having your arms full of things only to weigh you down?  Or arms free and open to experiences?  

Later, Joel put sandy Jude in the ergo baby carrier on his back and he went right to sleep.  We stayed out late and walked what seemed forever down the beach.  We talked to the locals and drew our names in the sand.  We stopped by the bar on the beach and got a couple drinks.  We watched someone arrive at the ocean, flip off his sandals and run for the water.  Said he hadn't seen the ocean in five years. 

Staring up at the palm trees and the night sky with the ocean crashing against the shore is probably one of my favorite things to do in the whole world. 

One experience with "things" taught me a lot about life.  Every time we headed for the ocean after that, it was barefoot with only the essential things... like a room key.  

Happiness was easier to find.  I felt free.  

“A lot of people get so hung up on what they can't have 
that they don't think for a second about whether they really want it.” 
― Lionel Shriver


  1. Oh I just loved this post. The ocean has so many amazing things to teach us. Yay for learning from it :)

    I also love that quote you started with. I have the first part of it tatooed on my body. I never thought I'd get one until I moved myself to Cali from MN on an airplane.

    The amount of "things" I had was ridiculous. I never wanted to forget that. So I permanently inked it on my body.

    Thanks for sharing your imperfect vacation moment. It sounded pretty perfect to me :)

    1. I love that you have the first part of the quote tattooed. I always told my Mother, "get something that means something, you'll never regret it!"

  2. I smiled when reading your story...I could just imagine you and your little family out in the sand. I too am that gal who places too much emphasis on how others might perceive me..sigh. Letting go of that is probably as 'freeing' as not wearing a bra!! We let those thoughts strap us in, just like a bra that is too damn tight and uncomfortable. Hooray for you for letting the true you hang out there and enjoy the moment! I can't wait to hear all about your adventure!!

    1. You make me laugh... I love how you used my braless experience to tie in all sorts of analogies :)


"Perhaps you will forget tomorrow the kind words you say today, but the recipient may cherish them over a lifetime." -Dale Carnegie

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