I walked along this beautiful stretch of beach wondering how I got here. It was the middle of a work day for most people and here I was in shorts and a tank top walking barefoot by the ocean with a couple of snacks and an IPAD tucked in my backpack. I felt happy to be here as the sun warmed my skin and the salt spray cooled it.
It was hard to believe a year ago I was stressed, balls to the wall behind my desk, negotiating and selling. For too long I had been an exhausted barracuda, digging in my hat for a rabbit to save a deal and wistfully wishing I was anyplace else.
I remember one day 2 years before when I threw my hands up after a frustrating morning. I grabbed my briefcase and told my secretary I had appts and left. I lied. I didn’t care. I got in my car drove down ocean parkway and headed for Jones Beach. I had to get air, I felt like it had all been sucked out of me, my life was in jeopardy if I didn’t bust loose. By the time the office started blowing up my phone 2 hours later, I had been napping on a bench by the west bathhouse. I reluctantly picked up the phone and said “I am never coming back. Forward the mail to West Bathhouse ” and hung up. I had officially run away from home. That was the day my battery finally died. It was the beginning of the shift.
Laying in the sun on that bench by the bathhouse that day 2 years ago I knew I had to change my life or wither away. My health was suffering and the life I once loved had become overwhelming. My weight was down so low I started drinking milkshakes for lunch and still couldn’t gain weight. I wasn’t sleeping well. My heart wasn’t in it.
”It was time to find my heart again. It was time to care. About myself.
Now 2 years later here I was looking out at the same ocean but I was a different person with a different life! Whatever obligation I was not released from when my marriage ended I had released myself from in my own time. It had taken a while, a lot of work and logistics, but it was all done now. I got rid of the clutter, swept the porch clean and I threw the baggage I had stowed in the overhead compartment out of the plane. I was FREE at last.
I was lucky. I didn’t have any serious commitments holding me in place. With only myself to worry about I could make whatever changes I wanted to. But that also made it more difficult in a way. Most people have the support of a partner or family while making complete lifestyle changes. I was scared and lonely and unsupported much of the time but I pressed through. I may be strong and independent, but given a choice this is not my ideal life.
But this day I walk along the waters edge with ease as the weight of the backpack adjusts comfortably and I take in the beauty. Mostly everyone on the beach is a family with some couples scattered in. I wish I had a family. I’d like to be here building a sand castle with a kid or planning somebody’s sweet 16. Instead I’m planning solo adventures. I’m excited, but part of me wishes I had a reason to stay home.
I’m happy. I feel complete. I’ve learned to love being alone but it’s not my ideal. It’s like going for ice cream and your favorite flavor is discontinued. Your OK with second choice, it’s pretty awesome and you have no right to complain but….
Further down the beach the crowd thins out as I come to the nude beach. Some old dude is wading in the surf and it’s not pretty. This used to embarrass me. Now I could care less. Most of my inhibitions were in that baggage I threw off the plane. Live and let live. I’m glad old dude found his freedom. More power to ya, old dude, I know how you feel! Woohoo!
”I feel like resting , so I do. This is the new me. I sit down when I want to. I never used to sit, I just kept going. I pull a towel out of the pack and sit down to relax and have some delicious watermelon. The sky is gorgeous. This is quite the day!
Two dudes come over and tell me I should take my shirt off. I give them my NYC stare and say ” tell your story walking guys”. They laugh and go away. Wrong girl.
I sit for awhile thinking. About nothing. I’m actually lazy. As a few people walk buy I assign them stories, made up in my head. It’s a fun game. It’s nice to be free.
But I have a serious moment as I realize for once I’m analyzing strangers with no harm just humor, instead of being an obnoxious ass analyzing people I know. In the past at times, I forgot I don’t know it all and I thought I had it all figured out. I made assumptions about the reasons for someone’s behavior when I didn’t know shit about their reality. It was easier than facing rejection. I’ve been hurt a lot, no ALOT and it’s easier to make up stories to justify that than take it on the chin. But I had to learn that you don’t know anyone’s real reasons for stuff until they tell you. Because I’ve lived so much ..like a cat with 9 lives, I arrogantly thought I knew human nature so well I had the right to assume I knew everyones feelings. I created scenarios based on my life experiences and thought I knew it all without considering that the other person has their own unique story. I was a self righteous ass. Those days are over. They were in one of those bags I threw off the plane. I realize that’s why I feel different today. Yes, it’s nice to be free and stop judging everything.
This simple life requires no analytics. And since I figured this out I feel much less burdened, lighter, relaxed like a deep yoga stretch just took over my body permanently. Ahhhh……
Being a pompous ass was a stressful burden…who knew?
The sky is absolutely stunning. My mind returns to semi mush as I lay flat on my back arms akimbo. The puffy white clouds scattered across the sky around the lighthouse look like an oil painting. The day is so beautiful its surreal. I can’t believe I’m here and I’m so relaxed I could fall asleep. I just lay here for a long time listening to my favorite music staring up at the sky like I used to as a kid laying on the lawn after a game of tag. I feel delicious.
I realize I can do whatever I want. Stay here until the stars come out. Walk to kismet. Go home, put on a dress and heels, blow out my hair and go dancing at Carlyle. Stay home and watch TV tonight. Go for a sunset drive along Ocean Pkwy. I am perfectly content, company welcome but not required.
After a while I sit up to get my bearings. A nice looking man is walking towards me smiling at me so I smile back. “Hey I like your hat” , he said, as he approached me. I forgot which baseball hat I wore. He read my mind and said ” Johnny walker always a good time ..I like every color black, red, got into the blue for awhile”…and he laughed. He was wearing a “Dire Straits” shirt. “Hey thanks, I like your shirt…great band” I said. We introduced ourselves and started talking music. He had just seen the band at the Paramount in Huntington. We chatted awhile and he told me about his YouTube site. It was just a nice convo on a beautiful beach with a random stranger. I realized life is so much better when your not stressed . Everything is enjoyed on a whole different level.
I felt like walking so I said goodbye to Mr. Dire Straits and continued down the beach.i wasn’t in the mood for any attachments.
”It was dinner time and as I got near kismet I smelled food. I walked around checking out the houses with the wagons and bikes outside the doors. It was a different world. I found myself wishing I had a summer share to hide out in for awhile.
I stopped for a slice of pizza and it tasted extra yummy. I wondered if it was the fresh air or my semi-euphoric state. I thought about getting ice cream but decided that would be piggish so I told myself next time it would be ice cream instead of pizza. I pinky promised with myself and set out for my walk back to civilization.
Walking back west the setting sun was all purplish and golden with rays coming from behind the clouds. It was quite a sight to behold. As the birds dive bombed and waves crashed I felt like I was in a movie. But this was real life!
I waded in the waves and didn’t care if my shorts got wet. I felt love and gratitude for my life. I felt really proud of myself. I was having a ball today. Doing nothing with myself. HA!
As I headed towards home I thought once again about that day 2 years ago when I escaped to Jones Beach. My life may not be perfect, I may long for a family at times and still be deciding my next chapter, but I finally have a life I don’t need to run away from. That is a step in the right direction.
What a great way to spend a day. I highly recommend it. Once in a while. Do nothing. It’s actually important!
Peace and love,