Sometimes You Need to be Spontaneous and Visit the Ocean

Photo of dog playing at The BeachA couple of Saturdays ago, my wife told me once again she was feeling out of sorts and wanted to visit the ocean. “I love the ocean. I just want to go back, see it, stand in it, and get some perspective. The ocean is my place to go when I feel like this.”

She’d mentioned the ocean a couple times in the week prior, so when I heard her say it again Saturday morning I knew she was intent on going. The closest beach is a lake but that clearly wouldn’t do. She wanted to visit the ocean. The nearest ocean beach is almost two-hours from our house by car. Should we go?

Why not? It sounded like a good idea to me, so we put our shoes on and hopped into the car for a cruise down to the Bay Area and the ocean. Just like that. You see, back in the day I was never one for spontaneous acts like that but these days, after surviving cancer and losing my mother a few years ago, I’ve learned the value of being spontaneous.

Photo of Mark and Margaret at The Beach in SFWe didn’t have a particular beach in mind. Once we got to San Francisco we simply did a search for “beach” on the GPS. It’s kind of funny but we ended up at a beach called “The Beach” on the edge of The City. After a bit of a struggle parking, we  headed down to the water. There were a lot of people there and we met come really great people, like Mike and Mel, a great couple from the East Bay who brought their dog down for some exercise.

We walked up and down the beach as our daughter ran in the surf, chasing dogs and ducking kite strings. The sound of the waves breaking reminded me of our recent vacation in New England, and the cool sea air was quite refreshing. It was a great experience for all of us. More importantly, we spent time together as a family and created a memory.

We didn’t get back home until very late that night. We were exhausted (actually, I was the only one still awake, which is a good thing because I was driving) but it was worth every minute and I’m glad we went.

It would have been easy to say “No way. It’s too far to drive for just a few hours on the coast,” but that would have been missing the point. Life is too short to not do the things you want to do. To intentionally skip an opportunity to have an experience – to have fun – is to waste the gift that life is.

“The fun stuff comes when someone is not so strict on sticking to the script. You’re allowed the spontaneity, and great moments can happen.” – Jennifer Aniston

When you get an opportunity to create a memory, to live life, and you hear that voice in your head telling you all of the reasons not to do it, stop and think about the reasons why you should do it. Will it make you happy? Will it make someone else happy? Will it create a positive memory? Is it possible you’ll never get the opportunity again (remember, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to us)?

Don’t just think of the negative. Think of the positive. Live life. Go to the ocean more often.

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