Since work ended for me a little over 6 weeks ago, time has escaped me. The days and weeks have moved into an indeterminable continuum, one that, while I do remember appointment dates and am prompt for most planned events, eluded exactly that Saturday, like today for instance, is a rare day off for the rest of the working world.
Thus, when I decided at 2p.m. today to take the kids to the beach, one of our county’s most popular beaches for its south-facing climate, I was met with throngs of people enjoying their time off. Which meant 15 minutes looking for parking and dodging people carelessly crossing streets and then navigating through tons of people spread across the beach. We didn’t even get there until 2:30, surely not the most popular beach time I think, and there were more people packed on the beach then I have previously ever seen.
At one point Maddie looked at me and said, “Let’s not come back her until…like…Monday, when everyone’s back at work.” Good point.
We were surrounded by out-of-towners who were staying for the weekend (the couple next to us were staying until Thursday. Their longest vacation in 5 years!). I listened to snippets of conversations (one other couple next to us had named their daughter, probably about 9 months old, after this beach town) from people around us discussing how much they loved this town, how much better this area is than where they lived, how they went to college here and deplore their decision to move away, get locked into a job and responsibilities, and are now unable to move back.
After a couple of years bemoaning having to live in this area (there are some serious negatives to living in a small college town, a town I’ve lived in for 15 years. Stagnation. That’s a good word to describe it.), I’ve come to realize how awesome it is that I do live here. Hey, I can come to this beach any day; it’s only a 12 minute drive from my house. I don’t have to trek from places far away just to spend a few days a year at the beach. And it is just so beautiful here: the beach on the west coast, the rolling hills on the east, wineries in every direction, and a college that brings in small amounts of cultural awareness. Life’s not so bad here, and though I think I’ll make sure I’m more aware of everyone else’s time constraints (I’m not going to think of my own until forced back into the working world) by avoiding the beaches on Saturdays, I’m definitely thankful that I live where I live.