midlife, personal growth

The Silver Lining in a Rainy Week at the Beach

stop over thinking - a rainy week at the beach

I’m just back from spending a rainy vacation week with my family in our camper at the beach and I have come away with a new mantra (and revelation!) that I’m hoping stays with me and speaks to you: Stop overthinking.

At the beginning of the week I was obsessively preoccupied with the weather forecast. All I could think about was how I’d been waiting an entire year for this week of sunshine and sand to arrive and how much it was going to suck starfish if it rained.

I was thinking about how I didn’t want to spend the week inside the camper – parked just feet away (but behind a dune) from the beautiful ocean. I was cursing over each refresh swipe of the weather app on my phone wishing for the forecast for 100% chance of rain to miraculously change.

Well, guess what? It rained.

Actually it poured and the torrential rain was accompanied by no-you-are-not-even-walking-on-the-beach-in-the-rain lightning strikes – for nearly the entire week.

After day two of a complete wash out, my wise (maybe just annoyed) 18 year old asked me to please stop overthinking the weather. He told me confidently that we would surely find a few minutes here and there, in between storms, to enjoy the beach. Shoreline winds and storms were unpredictable, he said, regardless of what my weather app was telling me. True. I couldn’t argue that one.

Realizing what a downer my minute-to-minute unchanging meteorology reports were getting to be, I decided to do as he said – to stop overthinking it.

He was right. We did find some fine moments on the sand to enjoy the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean views over the next few days.

We did get a few chances, albeit not many, to sprawl out on our beach towels and sit with our toes in the water.

So my beach vacation fantasies were not exactly what transpired – but overall – we had a really good time.

We decompressed, we played cards (imagine?!), we ate too much, we talked, we slept, we laughed and we spent a week basically connected at the hips.

With no more overthinking of our serious lack of sunshine, I started to look on the bright side.

Rain meant I didn’t have to worry about sunburn! Or how my chubby pasty-white thighs looked in a bathing suit, nor how much sand we brought into the camper on our feet.

Although I brought books with me to read on the beach, I ended up spending what limited time we had on people watching. I watched my people (my kids) and felt gratitude for having them in my life and for having that week with them, rainy or not.

The older they get, the more you realize how precious time together is.

I also watched other families, many with babies and small children. I remembered how intense it was to chase around and keep an eye on little ones near the ocean waves.

I watched women of all ages, shapes and sizes walk around wearing much less than they would walk around their homes in, and no one seemed to give a damn. I love that.

It was definitely a tribute to not overthinking – the bellies, the hips, and other body parts either hanging out of tight bathing suits or not quite filling loose ones.

I especially admired an older woman who looked to be in her seventies wearing a teeny weeny bikini. She was chunky and had a belly-button ring. She walked by with her chin up and her shoulders back and not the slightest hint of overthinking anything. I want to be more like her! (The carefree part, maybe not the teeny bikini).

It honestly felt freeing when I stopped overthinking. I stopped worrying about the weather. And what I looked like in a bathing suit. Or how wildly frizzy and out of control my hair was (my kids who comment on nothing actually mentioned how they’d never seen my hair look so…awful – which my no-longer-overthinking-self thought was hysterical!)

For me, overthinking leads to fear. Am I wrong that it’s that way for many of us?

And fear is not conducive to feeling joy, or to a clear mind, or to happiness, or to success or personal growth. All of which are positive aspirations.

So cheers to my beach vacation being rained on because it led to me working on being better at not overthinking!

I would wish that it rain on your beach vacation this summer too so that you could have the same stop overthinking it epiphany that I had – but I think that might be going too far.  ; )

 
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