Yesterday was one of “those” days. You know the kind I’m talking about–the kind of day that starts with a pounding headache before you even open your eyes in the morning and ends 18 hours later with the same unrelenting pain, the kind of day in which your Cheerios are stale and the milk is expired anyway, the kind of day in which the navy blue sock definitely doesn’t coordinate with the black one but you’re too tired to find the match and just hope no one else notices. Sound familiar? How about the kind of day in which everything you do seems to turn out wrong and everything you don’t do seems to somehow be your fault as well, and the kind of day in which every problem brought before you seems insurmountable–and yet it’s still your job to “fix” it?
I sound pitiful, don’t I? I don’t mean to be, and if it were only yesterday that had been so challenging, then I wouldn’t even consider it worthy of note–I would simply chalk it up as one of those occasional crummy days that, by comparison, makes the good days seem that much better. Unfortunately, though, I’ve had more than my fair share of “those days” lately; I’m stressed and I’m tired (and maybe just a little bit cranky). And when all of my energies should be focused on dealing with whatever the problem of the moment happens to be, I find myself instead drifting off, daydreaming of walking away (flying away, actually) and ending up on some beach–somewhere–anywhere.
My happy place.
Ribbons of purple and pink swirl over the dark waters as the rising sun peeks above the nearby horizon. Barefoot, I walk lazily through the receding tide, white foam spraying my ankles, wet sand cooling my heels and tiny crabs scurrying out of my way. Here and there I pause, bending to inspect a sand dollar or intriguing shell and placing only the most perfect specimens in my bag. The gentle ocean breeze flutters through my hair and chills my bare arms just as the sun blazes into its full glory and warms my soul. The roar of the waves blocks all sound except the occasional shriek of a sea gull as it swoops into the waters and then returns triumphantly to the sky. My eyes scan the beach in front of me, and then slowly I turn to scan the shore behind–and realize that I am completely and utterly alone. The beach is mine, all mine. I close my eyes and lift my face to the heavens, giving silent thanks for this intoxicating moment of sunshine and solitude. I am at peace.
HEY YOU! Come back to reality, you silly girl–there are fires to put out, problems to solve, and people to please. Take a deep breath, suck it up, and get moving.
No. I’m not ready. Just a few more minutes . . .
The sea grass and palm trees dance to the music of the wind as ships at full mast glide on and barges at full load plow through the sapphire-shimmering waters. I meander back to my beach chair and basket of supplies, and there I feast on a breakfast of luscious berries, juicy melon slices and ice-cold sweet tea. I pull out my writing journal, my book of the day, and my coconut-scented suntan lotion–and settle in for several delicious hours of reading, dozing, and soaking up glorious, soul-mending sunshine.
But reality rears its ugly head once more, and my happy place once again fades into the background–gone but not forgotten. Someday my happy place will be more than just a dream, but for now I need to accept that today is–after all–just another gloomy day in early March, and I have too many days ahead of me, too much work in front of me (and too little money available to me) to be contemplating a beach escape anytime soon.
So I will do what I always do–I will soldier on. I will do what needs to be done, I will do it to the best of my ability, and I will do it with a smile (or at least I’ll try to smile–sometimes the subconscious takes over and plasters a grimace there without my realizing it). And at the end of this day (and the next one and the next one after that), I will ride my bike until my muscles burn and my mind goes numb, I will soak in the tub until the throbbing melts away in the blistering heat, and then I will collapse into my waiting recliner until sweet slumber steals me away. And I will awake tomorrow, refreshed and ready (I hope) to face another day.
Oh, but someday . . . some beach . . . somewhere.