The beach was always something that didn't feel too far away, but was not easily accessible on any given weekend, and I didn't ever think of it as a big part of my life. As I got older, I continued to enjoy the beach, but it was just a vacation spot--a spring break destination and once-per-year indulgence.
And then Ben and I got together in college, and I remember the first time that I went with him to his "hometown" [Cape Cod] and met his family. We drove from KY to Cape Cod together after his graduation and arrived in the middle of the night, totally exhausted. When we finally woke up and ventured out the next day, I was dumbfounded that he grew up in such an idyllic place. I didn't understand how he could ever leave somewhere so beautiful and quaint.
In the years following, we would visit the Cape as a couple at least once per year, if not more. In the early days, Cape Cod wasn't ever a place I imagined living one day, it was just the place Ben grew up, and subsequently, the place that I was lucky enough to get to visit on a regular basis.
Fast forward to present day, and in November, we'll have been living on the Cape as a couple for 3 years. We bought a house here, we're having a baby here, and it's now home. We live 5 minutes from the beach and are experiencing our third summer here, and I still sometimes look around in awe and adoration.
Last night, as we drove to dinner down Historic 6A--what I have to guess is one of the most beautiful "highways" in the country--to eat dinner outside at one of our favorite spots right on the water (Sesuit Harbor Cafe), I couldn't stop saying how crazy it is that we live somewhere so beautiful, somewhere that so many people flock to in the summers, desperate to get away from the heat of the cities and into the water.
While I've loved everywhere that I've lived (and I really mean that!!), living by the beach definitely takes the cake, and this summer I am more grateful than ever for the fact that I have ended up here.
Being able to take a quick drive over to the ocean and jump in on a hot day [especially when you're pregnant!] is priceless. Spending a Saturday afternoon lounging on the beach just because you can is never a mistake. Heading down to the beach to catch a glimpse of the sunset on a random Sunday night always puts things into perspective. And walking your dog on the beach in the middle of a weekday (in the off-season, of course) is the best break you can ask for during a busy workday.
I've found that now that I've lived by the water, it's become an integral part of my life (even though I don't get to spend as much time there as I'd like). Just knowing that the beach is 5 minutes down the road is enough to help me relax, and getting there is often all I need to let go completely--even when I feel quite overwhelmed.
I know that not everyone is a beach person, but we all have that place or that kind of place that is meaningful to us, whether we've identified it yet or not.
And since moving to the Cape--a place that I didn't know I would love so much, but now feel totally connected to--I've realized how good it feels to live in a location that speaks to you, that you feel passionate about, and that just feels like home [even if you hardly knew it existed for the first 20 years or your life or so].
So, as I bask in gratitude for the life journey that brought me to this unexpected little sandbar, I want to encourage you to think about the place where you live right now: how do you feel about it? Does it make your heart sing?
If not, where would you like to live or end up? And how can you start taking baby steps to move in that direction? If you can't move because of work, family, or economic restraints, how can you find ways to reconnect with the parts of nature or the parts of your location that you love most?
I'm here to tell you, living somewhere that you love sure is a special way to add another dimension of happiness and beauty to your life.