I have always lived 15-20 minutes from the beach. Growing up, the beach was and is still always a part of my summer escapades. Whether it’s the cigarette butt infested Nantasket Beach or the crystal blue waters in Aruba, the beach has always been a a huge part of my life. Growing up, going to the beach meant building “drip castles” with the wet slimy sand watching the crash of the waves destroy it and reluctantly allowing my mom to cover me with 30 SPF sunblock hoping it was rubbed in enough that you couldn’t see it still on my nose. In recent years, I regret to say you won’t find me exploring the underwater ecosytems of the Atlantic Ocean with my geeky-looking swim goggles or attempting to make sea walls with a mixture of wet and dry sand to protect my enchanted sandcastle kingdom. The beach has become more of a relaxing get-away, an attempt to return any sanity that was lost throughout the course of the week.
This past weekend, me and a few of my college friends took a trip down to the Cape and paid a visit to Mayflower Beach. We walked on the beach, lettings our toes brush over the warm tide pools that surrounded us. We talked about life, growing up, and things that people don’t talk about enough. Things that have imprinted some sort of meaning in our lives that brought us to the point that we were at. As we talked, enjoying the noise of the subtle waves crash in front of us, I was thinking to myself about what prompted this conversation. This conversation was not something that you have over a Broccoli and Cheddar soup bread bowl at Panera, or after a couple of shots of vodka getting ready to go out on a Friday night; these types of conversations really only take place in a setting where it allows you to put things into perspective.
Sure, the beach is a place where people go to get some sun, and enjoy a Corona or two while enjoying the majestic ocean view, but I think there is a deeper meaning behind what “the beach” actually means. The beach is a vast, natural landscape of pure beauty. When you step onto the sand and glance out onto the horizon, it seems infinite. It makes everything in your life seem so insignificant compared to the miles and miles of salt water and sunshine that lies ahead of you.
It’s funny how the human mind works. We all are capable of thinking certain thoughts and experiencing certain emotions, but it is often the backdrop that lies behind us that prompts these certain things. As soon as we feel small and insignificant compared to something so large and infinite, it allows us to put life into perspective.
As we walked down the beach, it reminded me of other things in life that humble me and help me realize that human life is certainly not infinite. I thought about my trip to Italy and the time we visited my relatives in the small village in Anversa, surrounded by mountains. I stood on a hilltop with my mom gazing out into the distance, squinting my eyes to see the white ice caps that topped the mountains even though it was the middle of April. We didn’t talk much, but we didn’t need to. The atmosphere and beauty that surrounded us said all the words that needed to be said. It wasn’t the homemade gnocchis or the pigeons that let rest on my arm in Piazza San Marco that left a lasting impression on my during this trip, it was this moment I shared with my mom on a hilltop in Anversa observing the miles and miles of mountains laying in front of a pink and orange sky.
You don’t know what it’s like to feel inner peace is until you experience the infinite. The infinite can be found in places where you least expect it. But, how do you define “the infinite?” The infinite cannot be held in your hand, it’s something that you feel. The infinite is something that puts life into perspective, something that makes you feel belittled, in a good way. It’s something that takes all your problems and shrivels them into nothingness, even if it is only for a moment. It can be found in largeness of the sky, or in a a three-minute long rap song. It has to be something that makes everything OK. It allows you to realize that a crack in your iPhone screen doesn’t really matter. It allows you to attempt to figure out what life really means, or ponder if there is really a true meaning to life. It is the infinite that draws people to places like the beach. The beach doesn’t solely provide sunlight, because you can find sunlight in your backyard. The beach provides the feeling of forever.
I’ve talked about how channeling my negative energy into working out or writing a lovely blog post for you beautiful people has helped me escape reality often times, but I always forget how much of impact something as simple taking a brief look at the sky has on me.
I think everyone has their own way of finding the infinite. It has a subconscious impact on us that we can’t get away from even if we try. I think it’s important to find what makes you infinite, because it is only then when we tend to think about what really matters in the small timeline of life that we are provided with here on Earth.
If you had a bad day, look up at the stars for a few minutes. Attempt to examine each individual star as if they’re own separate entities, because you’ll soon realize that that’s impossible. The stars are comprised of something so much larger than that. Just like it’s impossible to fixate your eyes on one single rock on the beach. Your body and mind force you to look beyond that. It forces you to look at the vast landscape that goes on for miles and miles. Although you may be a part of it, you are a tiny entity of it. Your toes may be sinking sinking beneath millions and millions of tiny sand particles, which may seem like a lot, but in comparison to the rest of it, means nothing.
The beach, mountains, and sky will all still be here when our time here ends. It moves on with life even when you don’t. The waves still crash and the stars still twinkle even when you’re gone. That’s what makes them infinite. They’re forever. Forever is something that we are physically incapable of experiencing, which is what draws us to them. We want to experience forever with them, even though we know that it is not possible. Feeling infinite, only even if it is only for a moment, is possibly the most invigorating emotion someone can feel.
Find your infinite. Explore the world. Discover what makes you, you.