This past weekend, I did something that I haven’t done in a long time… go to the beach. Not too long ago, I associated the beach with several unpleasant memories and people’s body parts, which I would prefer not to see. Growing up in South Florida, the beach was a pretty natural occurrence. Throughout college, 7th and Collins in Miami Beach was the premier hotspot for students. I would lounge around with my sorority sisters and soak up the sun and ocean salt. But, never were those memories particularly pleasant. Miami Beach is filled with many tourists and crime. At least on 7th and Collins, everyone is chugging on a beer and exhibiting their drunken behavior to the public. The police often monitors the beach, making frequent arrests and fines. Loud rap and reggetton fills their air, along with the smoke from those holding cigarettes or marijuana. It doesn’t really sound like the kind of place one would be able to relax. Typically, non-Miamians associate the beach with relaxation, paradise, stress-relief, oasis, etc. But, in Miami, the beach is quite the opposite. Thus, the beach was crossed off my list of places to go when I need to relax.
For the new year, I decided to admire God’s craftmanship of the ocean and leave behind my skewed views of beach life. I traveled a little further north, to Hallandale/Hollywood Beach to soak my feet in the water and breathe in the salty air. This beach was completely different from anything that I had experienced before. The crowd was regular, not too crazy and not too tame. The laughter of children filled the chilly air of January 3rd. Despite the cooler temperatures, I craved wetting my hair in the ocean water. Exfoliating my skin with the rough, yet soft texture of the golden sand. I opened my arms and received the waves behind me. I felt adrenaline rush through my veins and I did something I hadn’t done in quite some time. I laughed. I laughed at my own foolishness of having such a negative attitude towards the beach. I laughed because I was genuinely happy and enjoying what I’ve gotten the opportunity to experience. Not too long ago, I was moaning and complaining that as a South Floridian, I didn’t get to experience the beauty of changing seasons. Granted, I’m sure that this is beautiful and would one day love to see different seasons, particularly autumn. However, here I was, on January 3rd, soaking in ocean water on the beach, feeling my toes curl in the sand, feel the ocean waves rush against my back, wearing jeans and a light button down shirt, flip-flops, my hair in a bun, and no sweater. This too, is a gift. To take advantage of such a craftsmanship year round. To welcome the new year by leaving the troubles of the past year in the ocean, letting the tides wash them away, and bringing forth better things to come. The peace and serenity that filled my mind, body, and soul was inexplicable.
How amazing it would be to live by this beach. To sit on my balcony, sipping a glass of wine as I admire such beauty. To feel such a deep, spiritual connection to the divine via the horizon. To exercise the natural way, against the currents of the water and the uphill of the sand. To feel my head clear as a soak my hair. This year, I’m going to make that happen!