This year feels like it has packed enough into it to fill many, many years. From a lot of travel, job changes and family changes to many super “highs” followed by super “lows,” I am beginning to understand what people mean when they say that life sometimes feels like a roller coaster. You know what I mean – we’ve all been there, right?
Well, this week, I had the chance to step back and to just take it all in. Each year, my family heads down to Ocean City, NJ. To a lot of people it’s a fun, family-friendly beach town that offers a break. To me, it’s always been something more. I even wrote about it in an essay contest in high school (read here).
While growing up, I spent many, many summers there. My Nana owned a condo and to this day, it’s where I feel closest to her. To me, this break is about family, about memories, about tradition and about a break from everything else that’s out there. This week was not different from others – we spent lots of time in the ocean and on the beach, a few aunts and even my great aunt came down throughout the week to share some laughs and great conversations, we enjoyed the best food the Jersey shore has to offer and we savored the time we all have together before our move takes us out of state, away from the stark familiarity that exists in that beach paradise that lives in my heart all year round.
But, while we spent lots of times making memories, I took the time to back pedal and to enjoy just “being.” See, when I was younger, I’d wake up before everyone else, grab a board, a camera and a notebook and head up to the boards. From there, I’d go sit in the sand and wait for sunrise. I’m telling you, the most spectacular moments of beauty that I’ve ever experienced have taken place on that beach, on that cold familiar sand. You’ll see more of what I mean in the essay I linked to above, but that’s not what this is about.
This time, instead of using that beauty to inspire something else, I just let it take hold. I spent mornings watching the sky switch from nighttime gray to light pink to the most amazing combinations of pinks and purples that nature has to offer. I watched it reflect off the ocean and watched the tide clear away the foam of the night before. Instead of trying to get something more, to write something amazing or to try to capture it on film, I just soaked it in.
I thought about this life, about why we’re here and about what really matters. I reveled in the beauty that cannot be something that happens because of chance and I counted all of my blessings, or as many as I could before losing the idea of counting completely. I realized that I am blessed. We all are. We are all able to witness amazing miracles on a daily basis if we just take the time to let them take hold.
We’re all a part of something more, of something bigger than ourselves. To me, this is inspiring. It pushes me to let down my walls and to be there for others. It empowers me to stop focusing on things that could be considered setbacks, and to look for possibilities. It makes me want to explore and to experience everything without holding back. It pushes me to be everything that I’m supposed to be.
All this from a sunrise…a few minutes in time that can never be relived or modified, something completely beyond my control. What has inspired you lately? What will you do with that inspiration?