My Happy Place


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.

Ada Beach, Ghana, Africa--photo by Sam Eubank

Ada Beach, Ghana, Africa--photo by Sam Eubank

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About icedteawithlemon

I have recently retired from a 30-year career in education in one of the best school districts in the world. I hope to spend my second life reading, writing, photographing, traveling, biking, cheering on my favorite baseball team (the St. Louis Cardinals), and soaking up glorious sunshine. In my spare time I enjoy playing with my pet tarantulas, trying out new flavors of chewing gum, and knitting socks for prison inmates. I'm almost positive that in a past life I was one of the Seven Dwarfs (most likely "Grumpy"), and in my next life I'm going to be either a taste tester for Hershey's or a model for Victoria's Secret's new line, "Bloomers for Boomers." I want to travel country back roads, singing Vanilla Ice songs at every karaoke bar and rating bathroom cleanliness at every truckstop. And someday I plan to own a private beach where skinny girls aren't allowed. I want to be a writer when I grow up. "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."--Henry David Thoreau
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10 Responses to My Happy Place

  1. I love your writing, Iced Tea. And I can totally relate to what you’re going through (except for the part about riding the bike). I hope you have a much better day today. But, if you do escape to that happy place, can I come with you? I’ll bring the melon slices! And I won’t talk. I’ll be really quiet. Unless I fall asleep in the chair. I can’t guarantee no snoring. (I hope I’m making you laugh a little – hang in there!)

    • We could set up a tape recorder to determine who snores the loudest! I’ve had countless offers for traveling companions to that “happy place,” which I think suggests that many of us are in need of a little sunshine and stress relief–come on, summer! (And you did make me laugh–thank you!)

      • bronxboy55 says:

        Don’t fall for AA’s tricks, Iced Tea. She just came back from Mexico, and here she is trying to buy you off with some melon slices. She probably hasn’t even unpacked yet. Besides, she has the new Doormat Club to get organized. There must be other people more deserving of a relaxing vacation. I’ve had a headache for two days myself. Why does she always get to go?

        Is all this bickering exactly what you were hoping for? (By the way, the Doormat Club needs a vice president.)

      • I had forgotten about her recent foray south of the border–she should be the very picture of relaxation! And vice president of the “Doormat Club” doesn’t sound very appealing; however, I would gladly volunteer for the post of parliamentarian if that meant I could BEAT any persons I deemed to be out of order!

  2. Janet Taber says:

    It must have been that sort of day for several of us yesterday . What a day! I didn’t take off for a happy place, just kept on butting my head against my proverbial wall and only made my headache worse. But this morning I’ve had a little mental vacation, going to your beach, walking in your footprints, sitting in your chair and sharing your wonderful breakfast. Now I’m ready for my book and then a little sun-soaked snooze. I feel better already—thanks!

    • You’re welcome! I think everyone occasionally has one of “those” days, and I can think of no better remedy than sunshine and ocean breezes. For now, I’ll just have to focus on the sunshine!

  3. I like your happy place. Mine involves garden spaces and a hamock. Right now, I just dream about a bathtub long enough to hold my 5’8″ frame. Here’s hoping you can get to that happy place soon.

    • I have a four-day weekend starting later today, so I will be visiting that happy place (at least in my mind!). I like your idea as well–dozing lazily amid thousands of fragrant flowers sounds heavenly!

  4. emjayandthem says:

    I’m feeling Calgon take me away as I read this entry … nice! Thanks ITWL 🙂 MJ

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