It’s almost Halloween so you know what that means… making a Halloween title that only vaguely relates to what I’m talking about.
I always thought it was a little bit silly how I grew up right next to the beach almost my entire life but could not stand going. The beach is sandy, it’s hot, some seagull is always trying to steal your food, without contacts I can’t even see the water, it’s a mess. My high school’s annual beach trip was an adventure that I almost always tried to skip. Moving to San Diego during this semester in the cloud was primarily a way for me to gain independence but here I was going to yet another beach town. And, of course, right now, being outside is one of the few things I actually can do without getting a massive panic attack. My San Diego native housemate made me a promise: by the end of the summer, I would love the beach. I scoffed at the idea, always stubborn and set in my own ways. Spoiler alert: he kept his promise.
I didn’t even realize that I was slowly being tricked into it until it had already happened. One of the first things to open up again in San Diego were water sports. After waiting another couple weeks just to be safe, we went jet skiing. We had to go jet skiing, Groupon had such a great deal! It would be criminal for us to turn it down. So we put on our masks, coated everything in hand sanitizer, and went. It was an absolute blast. I am not afraid to admit that I am an absolutely terrible driver and this jet ski was no exception. But isn’t that part of the fun? Miserably failing and flailing around on this watery mechanical bull that theoretically you should have control over but is certainly getting the best of you? After our fun had come to an end, my housemate suggested we go get Shake Shack. There’s nothing like greasy cheesy goodness to make you feel refreshed after salty sea air.
Slowly we made our way up from jet skiing, constantly associating water with positive fun vibes. We went kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing (where we “accidentally” capsized) and the beach. Every time we got incredible food and had the most wonderful time. The day I realized I was hooked was when we went to the beach after getting Tacos El Gordo (if you know, you know). We found the most incredible conch shells while we were walking in the water just up to our knees. There’s no way we would have seen them if the water hadn’t been crystal clear. It was a wonderful find. After checking for critters and making sure we wouldn’t be disrupting anything, we made it a week-long project to get them cleaned up. Now, the beach season is over, but I’m itching for any chance we get to go back on the water.
Growing to love the beach this past summer made me realize that I just wasn’t doing things right. Nature is a wonderful thing and I am truly lucky to get to live where I do, right next to some of the most beautiful beaches in the United States. I have always enjoyed exploring, I just had to make the beach days my own. Instead of sitting in the hot sun on the sand the entire time, I could go on walks and try to find cool things. I could play frisbee and hone my skills. I never disliked the beach, I was just bored because I’d never tried to make it fun. I’d never associated it with anything other than sitting waiting wishing I could “get” what people were so hyped about. My housemate was clever, continually making sure that I associated going to the beach with good food and adjusting our activities to something that was exciting for me. And I got to learn how to sail along the way!
Really what I think everything comes down to is learning to appreciate the people you’re with. People you live with during these crazy times become such a support system for you and you either have to really like them or you will likely drive each other crazy. My housemates and I spend pretty much all day every day together and there’s a reason why it’s worked so well. I’m so grateful that I got to see the beach and water sports in a new light.
Explore if you can, appreciate the people you’re with. Be willing to stretch yourself and try things again that you previously disliked. Who knows, maybe you just needed different people to make it awesome!
32.7157° N, 117.1611° W