Once a year I travel up the coast of California to my happy place. I take in deep breaths of salt air, warm my toes in the sand, and I fall asleep to the crash of ocean waves. This peace and tranquility has to last me throughout the year. I never know quite how much I miss it until I return.
When we visit here, we invade. Our large group includes my sisters (and their families), our cousins, in-laws, and friends that are like family. Though it’s been years since I’ve shared a home with my sisters, there is something so normal and comforting about getting to wake up every morning and know that I will spend the entire day with them. The tradition of visiting this spot began about 50 years ago (long before my time!). The memories from childhood and of my parents fill my heart. We have vacationed here in torrential downpours, which makes us appreciate the sunny days and we have seen a rock covered beach, which truly makes us appreciate the years with endless sand. But no matter the conditions, we treasure this place.
The decisions we make here are simple. The biggest dilemmas are reading on the beach or in our campsite; to visit the tide pools again or to take a nap. Some play horseshoes, some trek up the hill to buy treats at the local store, some run on the beach with their dogs. But whatever we do, we move so much slower. We soak it all in. We recharge.
The feeling it creates inside of us is contagious. The next generation of children in our family wouldn’t trade this family tradition for a Hawaiian vacation or a trip to Disneyland. A week with family at the beach, rain or shine, is where they want to be.
Everybody needs a happy place. Sometimes it can’t be for a week or be a four-hour drive from home. But we need to be able to step outside our daily norm to breathe a breath of fresh air once in a while. A place that we can go back and visit in our memories, on those crazy days, that will remind us that it’s all going to be ok.
Where is your happy place? A hike at the lake, a day reading by the pool, biking through the mountains, the clearance aisle at Target? Get out your calendar and schedule time for it. You will feel so much better when you get to make time for the things that matter most.