Every time I return from a trip to the beach, something in me changes. For that reason, while I am very excited about them, I have held beach trips with great caution. Days after I returned from Fort Lauderdale, I quit my job. (Granted, the job was terrible: I sat at a computer typing all night, had minimal opportunity for promotion or growth and was a hyper-critical environment that had little tolerance for mistakes.) I donâ€™t think my trip to Rehoboth Beach would count, though. That short vacation was a tad botched by a wrong choice of hotel, bad water conditions and just this feeling that it didnâ€™t go our way. The jellyfish invasion doomed the dayâ€™s potential for swimming.
My trip to Ocean City this year feels significant. It marked a few personal milestones: it was my first vacation I spent generally alone; it was also the longest trip I took in my car, and alone, at that. It doesnâ€™t seem like much, but the trip gave me plenty of time for introspection. I found out I like long drives, too.
The details of my trip will be written later. This post is about this site, and what I want to place here. I have written time and again about how I am tired of writing about politics, or the news. This trip to the beach has drained me of all passion for newsworthy matters of “great importance.” I am no longer inclined to comment on this yearâ€™s election, or the conflict between Russia and its neighbors, or the Olympics, or the local news. I maintain my opinionated mindset, but I am less inclined to record it here, or anywhere.
This trip to the beach has shown me the importance of verbal and intellectual triage. I was without my laptop, and I felt free from the shackles of the need to acquire as much information as I could about things that may or may not be important. This has always been the scary talent that I have, that my teachers in high school and college would always take note. I am a voracious consumer of information. My recall is remarkable. It is this talent that has gotten me through professionally, but on a personal level it is a difficult ability to manage. Some people watch the morning news while having breakfast and their morning coffee. I have spent many mornings seated in front of my computer, reading blog posts on Google Reader, blazing past posts in between bites and gulps. It was my own version of Patrick Bateman’s morning routine. It was my warm blanket, comfortable and familiar. It was my mental prison cell.
I donâ€™t know how it clicked. I didnâ€™t even realize that it had clicked until I came back and didn’t feel like checking the news, or my email. My life went on without me watching the world from this side of the monitor. I had spent three days living and I wasn’t about to snap back into my old ways. I realized that between work and going to the gym (which I treat with professional responsibility to my health and well-being), I don’t allot a lot of time for Everything Else. But it isn’t the amount of time left for Everything Else that counts. What is important is what falls under Everything Else.
“One life to live” somehow sank in. It must be my 28th birthday finally catching up to me: my wounds don’t heal as quickly or as flawlessly. My heart doesn’t beat as fast during workouts of the same intensity as I did two years ago. I was trundling through that period of life between youth and old age where every day and every year blend into some unremarkable amalgam of insignificant events: eat, sleep, work, bills, as the birthdays ticked on. I don’t want to live like this. There are compromises as to what gets done during the twenty four hours a day we all get, but I knew that I wanted to change what goes under Everything Else.
I think the biggest factor that affected this change of view was my sheer determination to get surfing lessons during my trip. I had scheduled them for Sunday evening but the weather ruined the water for everyone and my instructor of choice was booked Monday. I could have gone around looking for someone else but I didn’t want to do that, really. I have told this person I will learn from him. I wanted to stick to that. Instead I spent Monday bodysurfing, and I think I discovered what so many surfers already know about the allure of the sport: no single wave is the same, there is always something new, and it is an environment you can never really master. I learned to relinquish control over a large part of what would happen to me: to trust in my ability to orient myself but also to trust in the general direction of the water.
All these ramblings come down to what I want here. I have been writing online for almost six years and between jobs, personal priorities and the ever increasing population of writers, it has been difficult finding a niche. I think I’m done trying to find that niche to fit myself into. I feel so unworried about the need for significance or relevance that I feel better writing on my site now. I will write, and the readers will come.