Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Don't Grow Up Too Quickly, Lest You Forget How Much You Love the Beach

So I am one of those people that doesn't do real well with change. But I think this is a good thing - that I have to establish a routine for every part of my life. It organizes you. It keeps you focused. Yea, yea - it's a good thing... Then of course there's that whole joy thing! Joy in being organized, joy in the predictable, joy in being in control!

When I first opened the gym back in '05, coming from a routine driven corporate world of long commutes, meeting after meeting and a workday that was completely structured, I struggled. Sure it was great to have free time during the day but I am not one to just sit down and read a good book all afternoon. But eventually, I adjusted. I created an alternative lifestyle-type routine and now I can't imagine going back to the 9-5 grind I lived for the first 27 years of my adult life.

That resistence to change even seeps into the vacations we take. First of all, I'm not your "go to a museum, climb a lighthouse or check out where Black Beard probably didn't hide his pieces of eight" kind of gal. (Actually, I HAVE been dragged out to climb a lighthouse or two!) Give me a beach chair, a strip of sand by the water and a book and I am ON vacation. (Oh and SUN!!!!!!) Which actually works out quite well because even when I am not officially "on vacation", I have a talent for escaping down to Hammonasett (our local state beach on Long Island Sound) for many a summer afternoon and I feel like I'm on vacation! (I guess I can sit down and read a good book all afternoon!!) Joy, joy, joy!!!!

I am so routine driven (am I BORING or what???) that we usually go to the same vacation spot year after year. Before kids, we spent Jazz Festival week (and sometimes more than a week) living at the end of Bannister's Wharf in Newport, RI. If you are at all familiar with Newport, Bannisters is the wharf where the famous Clark Cooke House and Black Pearl are located. We had a room with a huge deck overlooking the harbor and for 1 suspended week each summer, for 11 straight years, that wharf was our home. We were SO not tourists like the rest of the crowd! That deck was the livingroom and trust me, I LIVED there! Like from 7am - past midnight day in and day out with a few journeys into the crowds each day for necessities like food! But for the most part - I blew through books, people watched and just re-fueled for another long year of routine driven labor.

But things change and we reluctantly gave up our DINKS vacation and ended up in the Outer Banks. Year after year we make the 13 hour trek down to the sea. Our shack is right on the sand and the routine never changes! I'm up before the sun, out on the deck wrapped in a blanket, drinking my first cup of coffee, ALONE, peacefully waiting for the dawn to break. That segues into an early morning run which prepares me for that longgggg day on the sand. Literally!

You can't budge my ass off that chair except to cool off in the grand, dangerous waters of the Outer Banks. Possibly I will walk the 5 feet to my kitchen for something to eat. (If I can't con someone into bringing me something!) I will get up to make the first cocktail of the day, though! But I sit my butt right back down on the sand as soon as that lime is squeezed into my frosty tank and tonic. Yes, I get my rear up to cook dinner because I love to cook but it is not without yearning to get back out there! (Did you notice how many times I mentioned my butt in this paragraph???!)

And that's exactly what I do as soon as dinner is over. The first few days I can convince my kids to take a long, after dinner walk on the beach but they quickly figure out the definition of long and by mid-week, I often find myself shell seeking by myself. But I love that too! One evening I found a sea turtle! It was dead but it was perfect. Huge! At least 4 feet long.

Even as darkness falls, I am STILL on the sand! Catching spider crabs with the kids, sitting around a bonfire roasting marshmallows (with a yet another cocktail in my hand!), or just hanging in my chair as the dusk sweeps in. Just sitting... (There's that butt reference again!)

Anyway - last year may have been the end of an era. It turns out, a big storm stole my beach and now my shack sits at the water's edge. I am told you can drop a stone directly off my deck into the surf. So we canceled our reservation for this summer but kept next summer's in the hopes that they can somehow recover my beach. I am sooooo sad!

We also spend time in Block Island each summer. Over the years, we have stayed for as long as 2 weeks in a rental but have also stayed in hotels. I love Block Island. When I grow up? I want to spend my summers in a little cottage there. Again - it's all about routine for me. The early morning run, the beach all day, the books, the walk on the breakwater each night.

With the kids, and the high cost of staying on the island these days, we usually only go for 2-3 nights. But, I have to get to Block at least once during my summer. And when the stay is over and the ferry pulls away from the dock with the Morman family on board, the ache sets in, not to be stilled until the following summer when that ferry is delivering us back to my little piece of paradise.

So this year, we will probably spend some time on Block but with the Outer Banks off the schedule, we needed to figure out where to go for our one family vacation we take each year. I had ALOT of anxiety about this. We routine-driven souls, you know... But, per usual, things fall into place. (Somehow, they always do, don't they??)

Just so happens, a client of mine owns a house on Martha's Vineyard and low and behold, she has the 2nd week in July open and the cost is doable. So off we go. I have been to the Vineyard only once way back in 1979. So this will be a whole new ballgame. Me? In a new place? Will I spend the whole week searching for my comfort zone? Where are the grocery stores? Which are the best restaurants? Will I like our location? What if I don't get my books read!? My heart starts to race at the mere thought of spending a week in a new place. It feels so overwhelming.

But then I stop. This is just plain silly. For god's sake, Joey. Do you know how lucky you are to even have time off from work, never mind go away on a VACATION?? Yes - poor me has to step out of her comfort zone. Gadzukes!

So now, I am just grateful. I AM lucky. I'm the new 49! I can handle this! Why do I have to have a routine for everything? Think of the growth! Be an adventurer. Yea, yea - this IS a good thing...right? And then there's that whole joy thing. Joy in being a free spirit (dis-organized), joy in being surprised (unpredictable), joy in flying by the seat of your pants (OUT OF CONTROL!!!) Aghhhhhhhhhh...

1 comment:

  1. I can tell you anything you want to know, JEEZ!!!.. how did you NOT MENTION a week on MV to me????? Stop the anxiety crap, it's a great family vacation!!!!... YAY! Fill me in.