It’s been 4 years since my toes have hit the Ocean City sand. In that period of time I have radically transformed and changed my life in so many ways.
Things that I am/have now that were not yet cultivated at the time of my last visit:
I’m now vegan which happened 1 month after my trip.
I am now a certified yoga teacher.
I’m in a relationship.
I have a different job.
I switched from Create N Plate over to this website.
I’ve began a spiritual practice.
All events and circumstances that have shifted my life and mindset to a place that I never thought I’d be or even knew to be possible.
So this Ocean City trip was planned by my parents. They were going to see the Air Show and I was just going along to hang out at the beach for 3 days because who the heck would turn down doing something like that?!
I figured that I’d bike to a less crowded area and lay in the sun during the day, pray that my sunscreen worked so that I didn’t become a lobster, and read infinite books.
Of course, that wasn’t really how it went down.
But shoutout to my sunscreen because it really did work.
It turns out that I’m really into air shows. Who knew?! As I stood there in the water and Googled, “How bad are air shows for the environment?” I was thinking to myself how cool it was. So cool that I stood there for FOUR HOURS and watched the entire thing. Like what?!
There went my chill beach afternoon.
This all made me think about things, of course. It made me think about how many other things I might come across in my days that I completely write off without even experiencing them. I bet there are so many things that I don’t even realize and you know what? That’s gotta change.
The first step to changing a habit is realizing that the habit is limiting you from experiencing your life fully.
As I stood there on that day and thought this over I realized that the whole trip was going to change from that point on. I was going to do things that I didn’t even necessarily want to do at the time but also wanted to do to have the experience.
So I said yes to things. I went to dinner at a place where I had to substitute and piece together a salad to eat just for the experience. I woke up at 5 a.m. to go outside because even though it was way too foggy and cloudy to see any sign of a sunrise, I still went out and started my day. I said yes to a bike ride that I took in my bare feet (ouch, mistake) because the opportunity presented itself. I slept on the pull out couch mattress so that no one else had to and it turned out to be the best night of sleep I had on the trip. I jumped right into the absolutely freezing cold pool because I was at the beach and even though I hate cold water I figured why the heck not.
There were also things I said no to. I skipped the group breakfast one morning to do yoga on the beach. I passed on going to the pool one night because I wanted to sleep early. I decided against buying any materialistic things because I wanted to save my money to put elsewhere.
I just did what felt right and tried to balance out what I wanted to do with new experiences that I figured I should at least try.
I don’t necessarily think that there is a perfect balance when it comes to stuff like that though. I think it’s a constant practice of finding what works best for you in that moment. Each day is a different experience due to various factors in our lives and by tuning in to how we feel allows us to guide ourselves in the right direction.
I just finished reading You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero and let me tell you, game changer. I started this book while at the beach and man, I became obsessed with it. I got done with it about 4 hours ago and I’m already considering reading it again. There are so many things to take away from it and it’s such a good read!
So, why the heck am I telling you about this book in the middle of sharing my beach trip experience? Because it 100% shaped my beach trip into something that I totally didn’t expect. I think that I initially gave the air show a chance because I was tapped into the words in this book. And no, I didn’t have anything wild and crazy happen. It’s not like Tom Brady was having dinner across from me or anything. A small shift happened though. A shift towards what I genuinely believe to be be the kickstart towards another transformational period in my life.
You know when you read something and it immediately clicks? That’s what this book was for me. I’ve felt, heard, and knew that the things being shared in this book were true but for some reason it really hit me and resonated with me as I turned the pages with my sandy fingers.
I reflected on time and changes that happen that are so big yet so small. Like I said at the beginning of this post, my life has changed so much since I was last here. A place that I grew up visiting every summer. One of the first places that felt so familiar when I am far away from home. Somewhere that seemed like a place that I just took some family trips to growing up. I finally get that it’s so much more than that.
Ocean City – a huge party beach town when I’m the total opposite of someone who enjoys that type of scene, a place that is way less vegan friendly than what I’m used to (luv u Pittsburgh), and a place that I took for granted growing up now means so freakin much to me. SO MUCH.
This was the first place far away from home that I returned to consistently enough that I know my way around.
Familiarity. A sense of home away from home.
There’s something comforting about leaving your daily life and going somewhere that you can actually navigate easily. Restaurants, roads, shopping, hotels, the best mini golf, beach spots, etc. Not having to plan out stuff when going to get away from your daily life is very refreshing.
I learned (without even realizing) that I can develop a relationship like this with other places as well. And I have.
Virginia Beach, Shenandoah National Park, New York City/Manhattan and Queens specifically.
Those are all places now that I hold very close to my heart for very different reasons but without my reoccurring Ocean City experiences I don’t know if I would have the same experience with those places.
In the moment, I obviously had no idea that was the case. But looking back I am fascinated by it.
It’s the small things that matter most, I believe. They are able to occur more frequently and are able to add up to create the big things.
One trip to Ocean City, or anywhere, doesn’t seem like a huge thing. But adding up the years of visiting is how the big things happen.
Without that I think I would be less likely to travel and just go as easily and as often as I do. I’m not afraid to go and do things alone and if I click with a place I will go back again and again until it becomes something familiar and comfortable to me.
When I was young I clicked with Ocean City. I loved the nightlife, the restaurants, and everything else. But as I grew up and completely shifted my lifestyle I hadn’t been back until this year and didn’t really care.
I began to write it off and see it as something that I wanted to let go for those reasons.
Like mostly everything in life though, your perception is everything. This time around I saw what I wanted to see which was happiness and beauty in each moment.
I paid no attention to anything that I didn’t resonate with. I don’t even think I saw a single drunk person while I was there. If I did, I didn’t notice. I was too busy looking at the tiny grains of sand, feeding the seagulls (birds forever, yesss), feeling the salt water wash over my feet, and feeling the breeze blow in my hair as I biked to get acai bowls each morning.
My thoughts may seem scattered all over the place in this post. But three short days taught me a lot and I wanted to share.
Currently I have chosen to focus on my perception and see the beauty because there is so much around us all, it’s everywhere all the time. I’m also going to continuously work on the balance between trying new things and knowing when to keep myself in my comfort zone.
Awareness, trust in my decisions, and consistently checking in with where I’m at. That’s what makes me know that I’m exactly where I should be and am on my way to where I want to be.
“Surrendering is the free-falling backwards into the unknown and trusting that The Universe will catch you.”
― Jen Sincero
Much love. xx