Beach Photo 2

Photo credit: David Clinton

Bring
Sun screen
Bug spray
DVDs for the car ride that won’t leave you feeling dead inside upon repeated viewings.

Leave behind
Thoughts about work. You’re off the clock. Step away and let your feet dangle over the edge of your life for a while.

Bring
Flip flops. Backup flip flops. Emergency “Henry buried my flip flops and now I can’t find them” backup-to-the -backup flip flops.
Frisbee
A novel that will leave you feeling less alone in the universe. Less weird. Or at least less alone in your weirdness.

Leave behind
Vanity. What will make this trip memorable has very little to do with the flatness or roundness of your abs.

Bring
Sunglasses
Pool noodles
Patience. Fact: You will be hit in the face with a pool noodle this week. Sand will be in everything (including/especially the Fig Newtons). The car will eventually smell like feet, sun screen and day old french fries. Embrace it all as part of the adventure.

Leave behind
Lectures about why we don’t hit people with pool noodles.

Bring
Beach towels
Umbrellas
Tools for looking at the world differently: goggles, binoculars and a magnifying glass. The world becomes much more interesting when you take a closer look.

Leave behind
Worry. It is a relentless bully. Work will be here when you get back. The house (probably) won’t blow up. The world will still have its problems. This doesn’t mean you need to think about them constantly.

Bring
Camera
Awareness (you forgot this one last time).
Wisdom, particularly the wisdom to be silly in public.

Leave behind
Efficiency. Some organization is helpful. Avoid chaos if you can. Beyond that, hold things loosely.

Bring
Uno. And watch out for that damn Draw 4 Wild Card.
Shovel and bucket. There are sandcastle moats that need digging and seashells that need collecting. And who knows what you’ll find when you dig beneath the surface.
A journal. Reflect on your life from a distance. Record the details of the memories you are making. Attend to the deeper meaning of things. Watch the kids write their names in the sand. Write your name in the sand. Watch the tide wash them away.

Leave behind
Perfectionism. The journey is more than a series of tasks that you need to manage. Let it have its high points and low points, like any good adventure.

Bring
Your ears. Be a generous listener. Make your fellow travelers feel deeply heard. It’s one of the best ways to express love (along with buying the googly eyed trinket at the tacky, overpriced gift shop).

Leave behind
The need to be right.

Bring
Swedish Fish

Leave behind
Resentments towards your partner that you could have let go of by now, but haven’t.

Bring
Exuberance. And if that sounds too tiring, bring occasional enthusiasm and an openness to try new things.

Leave behind
Comparisons. There will always be someone who is more something than you, but there is only one you.

Bring
Your soul. It may be old and a little worn out, but it is still your best part.

Don’t forget to make memories.
Don’t forget to make a life.
Safe and soulful travels, Friend.
_____

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David Clinton
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What to Do When Our Feelings Are Lying to Us