When I was younger, my family would take our annual beach trip down to Vero Beach, Florida. I remember ever summer driving down there and just asking my parents, "Are we there yet?" Over, and over, and over again. Those were the days when we didn't have movie players in the car so my parents had to deal with my whining the whole ride there. After a long drive (or what seemed like a long drive for a little kid), we would finally reach the bridge taking us over into Vero Beach. I would look out my window at the water, and my impatience was quickly replaced with excitement and a huge grin. We would arrive at the house with the pebble road. I'd role down my windows to hear the sound of the pebbles brushing against the tires. I would quickly become impatient again while waiting for the car to be unloaded so that we could go be reunited with old friends again and head down to the beach with a 7/11 coke slurpee and cuban in hand. I was content. The biggest worry in the world at that moment was if I had put my sunscreen on. How I long for those days of a child's joy. Only wanting friends, the beach, a sandwich and a slurpee. I'd ride the waves on my old fashioned float with the biggest smile on my face. I could go on and on about what moments like these mean to me. The world seemed like it was at the palm of my hands.
Those annual trips quickly became more difficult to take. Everyone was growing up and we simply didn't have time to take those trips anymore. Then high school hits and the worries and questions seem unending. Who am I? What do people think of me? Why are those girls so mean? Does that guy like me? What if I fail this test? What if I don't make it onto that sports team? What if I don't get into that college? What if I don't graduate? What college do I choose? What do I do with my life? The list goes on... and on... and on. But then all of those worries soon go away as you are sitting in your cap and gown with all of your classmates. You've made it, and you're just a diploma away from starting the next stage in your life. Through all of the stress and worries and struggles you went through, you finally made it. It is one of those moments that feels a bit surreal. It is a moment where you are filled with pure joy again, like the joy of a child. You've got the world at your fingertips. Then college graduation, weddings, kids, etc. This doesn't mean that the next stage of your life gets any easier. Each new stage of life is filled with different struggles. But the worries and questions that seem so consuming quickly fade away as we finally get there.. when we finally get that diploma, that job, that wedding and marriage, that family. It is moments like these that we should cherish the most and hold on to tightly because life is quickly flying by. And if we aren't careful, we could worry away our lives instead of living fully present and content with the days that we are given. When I look back at my life so far, I like to see the things that make me feel alive and give me pure joy, like the simplicity of that trip each summer. When we meet up with old friends, we don't dwell on the bad things. We dwell on the things that make us laugh and that we cherish the most. These are the things that carry us through the hard times. Knowing that through the pain, hard times, worries, or impatience, you will reach that destination and it will be pure joy. You, too, will reach that bridge, cross it, and see the good things once again. But through all of that, it is important to be content with where you are, and see that you will get past this hard time. There is light at the end of this tunnel. When life throws unexpected curve balls our way, we can strike out or we can choose to see the bigger picture and just enjoy each moment. Let's laugh at the good moments, cry at the sad ones, and let joy run every situation. The world is your oyster , and what you do with your life in this moment is up to you.
This post was inspired as I was sitting with a coke in my hand, filled with happiness and contentment. It is the little things that matter the most, and the sweet taste of coke is a good reminder of all the sweet things life has to offer.
Photography: LB Snipes Photography
"I know these will all be stories some day, and our pictures will become old photographs. We all become somebody's mom or dad. But right now, these moments are not stories. This is happening. I can see it. This one moment when you know you're not a sad story. You are alive. And you stand up and see the lights on the buildings and everything that makes you wonder. And you're listening to that song, and that drive with the people who love you most in this world. And in this moment, I swear, we are infinite."
- Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower