In Be Happier, For Dream Chasers

Last Saturday, Dave and I arrived in Stone Harbor, New Jersey exhausted, anxious, and stressed. We’d spent a long time trying to figure out where we wanted to go, and had taken the time to browse available vacation rentals, but we’d decided on this location. We were convinced that with the on-going house renovations and the huge pile of work sitting on Dave’s desk, that we’d never be able to relax and enjoy a week at the beach with his family. Oh, how we underestimated the power of sunshine, ocean waves, laughter, and wine.

By the second day, our worries had melted away and our pace had slowed substantially. By the third day, we were officially on “beach time”: waking up naturally and staying in bed for a few extra minutes (would have just been as enjoyable as waking up on a mattress from somewhere like, Leesa); spending an hour (or two) sipping coffee on the porch and staring out at the ocean; taking long walks, barefoot, and talking about nothing of great importance; heck, I even put on some swimwear (it is modest swimwear, I must add) for the first time in years and had a swim; falling asleep in the middle of the day to the sound of ocean waves; eating dinner outside in the cool salty air bathed in the glow of candlelight; and crawling into bed at night feeling happy to be alive.

We came home feeling relaxed, rejuvinated, and most importantly: reenergized. And now that Monday is here, I’m trying to hang on to the lingering inner calm. But the unfair thing about beach time is that it always slips away the moment you leave the beach. Back in the real world, we wake up to staticky music, eat breakfast standing up, drink coffee in our cars, and eat dinner in front of the TV. Back home, there are gym sneakers and treadmills, and the only ocean waves emanate from our iPods. Back here, we crawl into bed at night feeling exhausted and counting down the days until the weekend, when we can live, if not on beach time, at least on weekend time.

Right now, I’ve still got beach time by the tail and I’m trying to stop it from wiggling out of my grasp. This morning, I stayed in bed past the alarm, I ate breakfast on the couch, I watched the news and sipped my coffee, and I took time away from my long post-vacation To Do list to write this blog post. And you know what? The world didn’t implode. The laundry is still dirty, the suitcases are still waiting to be put away, and my To Do list is exactly as I left it.

Being on beach time has made me realize that I usually operate under the assumption that if I’m not in motion, highly productive, and checking things off my To Do list, then I must be wasting time or being lazy. But the truth is, we all need a little more “beach time” in our daily lives. We need the space and freedom to linger, breathe, daydream, dillydally, and relax. The world isn’t going to stop spinning if we take a walk in the middle of the afternoon or sit in the sunshine with our eyes closed for a few minutes. Natural disasters won’t be unleashed because we’ve stepped out for a cup of coffee or put off our chores until tomorrow. Chances are, no one will even notice.

So the question is…How can you enjoy a little “beach time” today?

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