Wednesday, March 4, 2020

don’t be so afraid of life that you forget to live

Yesterday afternoon I arrived in The Hamptons/Montauk—
I say both, because where I’m staying is smack dab in the middle. I’ve wanted to come here for as long as I can remember, particularly in the summer, but this week the occasion arose…and here I am. Did I mention I brought my dog?

 So, after five hours in the car, here we are in a cozy Airbnb in The Hamptons. 

As soon as we were all checked in, I poured a glass of wine and off to the ocean we went. I have never been on a beach where there was no other human in sight. I was able to let Peanut off his leash and man did he run wild. He rolled around in the sand like it was snow (that was fun when we got back to the house).

Have you ever had a real pull to be near the ocean? To see it? To hear it? To touch it? That’s kind of what inspired this trip. Many people say the ocean is healing for them and I totally relate to that. Some of the best memories of my life involve the ocean in some capacity or another. 

Someone once quoted, “The person you think of when you stand in front of the ocean. That’s the person you’re in love with.” This morning at 7am, back out on the beach, with no makeup and my natural curly-cue hair…I thought about that, I thought about a few people, and I thought about myself. I am attracted to the raw, real, unfiltered, unguarded, messy versions of other people, but sometimes I have a hard time accepting that about myself. I am a social butterfly, talk-to-anyone, make small talk with a stranger kind of person, but when it comes to letting people truly “in,” I’d rather go swimming with sharks. I tell people just enough, but never too much. An arm’s length away is where I tend to keep people. I am so open to love, yet terrified of it at the same time. Ironically, the very thing that I want most is the very thing that I’m afraid of—to be accepted, to be loved, to be seen.

From experience, I’ve learned that the more people know, the more they can hurt you. And even worse? The possibility that they leave. That’s my biggest fear—getting close to someone and then watching them leave. However, as I get older, I’m realizing that living life with fear is really no life at all. Fear paralyzes you. Fear steals your joy. Fear takes away anything meaningful. Fear takes away possibility. 

As I walked along the beach this morning, I looked at all of the shells that had washed up on shore during low tide. Some big beautiful shells, still in tact. Some with missing pieces. Some scratched and worn looking. Some with other shells and seaweed stuck to them… each shell so uniquely different, each shell beautiful in their own way. However, when I go back this afternoon during high tide, they’ll all be gone. Collected back into the ocean for another go around—a lot like life. 

We are all here on earth, so completely different from one another, thrown into the game of life. Each one of us has a different story, a different “scratch,” all sorts of baggage stuck to us. Just like the ocean, the tides of our life will always rise and fall—we’ll be sucked in, only to wash up on shore once again—but no matter what, the water keeps moving. 

Sometimes I need that reminder—that life keeps moving whether you’re living it or not. 

I am slowly learning how to embrace my fears. It’s certainly not easy, and at times, it can be painful… but nothing is as painful as missing out on the joys of life, simply because you’re afraid. 

Don’t be so afraid of life that you forget to live.
XX, Laura