Ocean View

I’ve groaned a lot about Spring in the Southeast lately. When I lived in the Northeastern U.S., winter was the season I dreaded most. I was excited to move south, because I knew that I would no longer have to dread the days on end with only the most obscure sunlight, endless slush and white landscapes, and dreary grey skies. I was right, of course. Those experiences are all but extinct here. What I didn’t expect was that winter would be replaced by spring as my most hated season, because I have never experienced allergies of this magnitude. The first time I saw my car yellow with pollen, I couldn’t fathom what was happening.

Such is life, right?

I remember my introduction to Florida well. While I didn’t grow up in a coastal area, the beach seduced me with its beauty on my first visit, and I’ve longed for it ever since. That evening, only slightly tired after a relatively normal travel day, I stood with a friend looking out off of the parking deck of the airport and was stunned by what I saw. Later, driving over the water, I nearly lost my breath. The following day, walking the white sand of Clearwater Beach and watching the sunset over the Gulf at the end of the day, I was so hopelessly in love with that place.

I’ve never been back to Florida, despite every intention to return. As summer nears, and I watch the change in the way the evening light falls over the streets and hills of Virginia, I find myself wishing desperately that I was back in Tampa. I think, also, that the place, as much as I loved the area, is somewhat metaphorical for where I otherwise find myself positioned in life; that is, somewhere I have tasted and in which I long to exist, yet find so incredibly elusive at the moment.

Career goals play into that discontent. I’ve lived the 9-5 grind, and I am so, so over that now. I no longer define my success by moving into the corner office (amazing how it doesn’t matter after you’ve achieved it). I’ve made moves forward: I continue to experience the addictive rush of theatrical magic when the lights warm the stage, and, while I haven’t sold the “Great American Novel,” I am not un-published for the last few years, either. Yet, I am longing to reach a place in life that I feel I should already have attained given the fact that I’m only a few years south of 40, and feel as though I haven’t been paying nearly enough attention to dreams and wishes along the journey.

Blah on professional wardrobes and corner offices, anyway.

I’ve tasted the ocean air with a scandalous passion, and yet have never been able to hold onto it for the long term. I’m just too stubborn, though, to give up hope, because I know that I will eventually wake up every morning to that metaphorical sand and ocean (hopefully with an identical geographical experience). Yet, I don’t want to call it achievement, because that makes everything, again, about success and material gain, which I’ve discovered to be worthless in and of themselves. This is about doing what I’ve realized is in my DNA, the piece of my soul I’ve discovered requires feeding to remain in possession of any sort of vitality…a “something greater” to which success must be attached if it is to have any significance.  I’m experiencing that in fleeting moments now, but am forcing myself to remain confident that the experience will be consistent in the future.

Until then, I cope with spring. Feel free to send me postcards of coastal sunsets. One day, I’ll be happy to return the favor when needed.


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