“Yes. I’m a bit quiet and I don’t share a lot of what’s going on in my mind. But it’s not that I’m afraid to. It’s just that I don’t often feel the need to. I don’t share everything that crosses my mind because I know better than to believe everything that crosses my mind. I need to take my time. I need time to observe, to assess, to understand, and yes even to correct my thoughts before I let them flow out into the world. I need time because I understand and respect the power of words. So no, I don’t speak often and I don’t speak loudly. But at least you know that when I do speak, it’s going to be something I feel, I really understand, something that excites me, that I believe matters, and that sounds true to my soul – because to me, that’s what speaking is actually for.” – Cristen Rodgers
Part I –
It all feels like a dream – a daze. As I sit in this coffee shop listening to The Growlers, reflecting back to the fact that this time last year I was living in Newport, it utterly baffles me. Never, in a million years, would I have thought that that would be a place I was so fortunate enough to call home. I dreamt about it plenty of times, sure, but never did I think I would see the day it would come true. Never did I think I would be a quick walk from the beach, a short bike ride down the road or a two minute drive away. Newport became my home in the three short years I was there, it will forever hold a piece of me – a piece of my heart. Regardless that I don’t physically live there anymore, it will continuously be a home of mine.
I have always longed for the sea. It’s always felt like my escape, my thinking ground. I’ve become so captivated by it. I had known that the beach is where I wanted to move – where I wanted to live for quite some time. There was no question about it, no doubt in my mind that that was where I was headed. No matter how many times people disagreed with me or questioned why I would want to move to the city, it was still what I undoubtedly wanted. In high school, I used to stare out the windows and pretend that the beach was right down the street. That after class, I was going to go play in the waves like a five-year-old. Embarrassingly, this was an every day occurrence. (Maybe that’s why I was an awful High School student, I was in a constant state of daydream.) I envied the kids down south that would get to go swim in the ocean after school, better yet, DURING school. Which is ironic because it seems like the kids down south envied the fact that I lived right next to one of the most spectacular ski resorts.
“You have to find that place that brings out the human in you. The soul in you. The love in you” – R.M. Drake
When I tell people that I was living in Newport they look at me as if I have a third eye, like I just came from outer space and I get it – to most, Newport wouldn’t be their first choice of residency. To this day, I never hear the end of how expensive it must have been, as if I didn’t already know that, as if I didn’t just live that. To be honest though, sure it was expensive, but I got to live one mile from the beach, literally one mile. One mile from absolute, pure bliss. I feel that because people don’t understand that part of my life they’re not understanding a huge part of me – a huge part of who I am.
“Nothing hurts a good soul and a kind heart more than to live amongst people who can’t understand it.” – Ali Ibn Abi Talib
I swear, sometimes I would think someone pinch me, I must be dreaming. How could this be? How on earth did I get so lucky? That I cannot tell you, I don’t have those answers. All I know is that I cherish so many of my memories spent there. I cherish the days spent at the beach before work or even the days spent at the beach after work, the feeling I would get when walking up to the sea right before putting my toes in, driving down PCH with the windows rolled down, banzai bowls, walks on the pier, coffee on the beach at sunrise, hikes in laguna and even waking up at the crack of dawn to go to The Wedge to watch some of the gnarliest surfing I have ever seen.
I miss having sand in my bathing suit, in my hair and all over my feet. I miss going to work with salt water still fresh in my hair. I miss certain people and places – the endless amounts of good coffee shops and juice bars. Oh and of course Mother’s Market. I actually really miss school. (Haha, who I am?) I miss when my mom would come to visit and we would go drink champagne on the shore and then go get Cheesecake Factory. Because let’s be honest, Cheesecake is our favorite. I miss my roommate texting me that I should ditch class, go get coffee and sit at the wedge with her. If you’re wondering, I didn’t ditch class often but when I did it was usually because I was at the beach. (Whoops.)
“I believe in the ocean curing all bad moods. I believe in the waves wiping away worries. I believe in seashells bringing good luck. I believe in toes in the sand grounding my soul.” – Unknown
So why did I leave then? If I found this place to be so extraordinary, then why did I pack my things and leave?
“Sometimes in the waves of change, we find our true direction.” – Unknown
In those moments, I thought my time in So Cal was rightfully coming to a close. I figured that three years was enough – that I was ready to see something new. Which is still true. I was, by the third year in Newport, getting undeniably burnt out. I was ready to experience something different. There were bad times, sure. That comes with anywhere you live though. There will always be the good and bad, highs and lows. It was only until after leaving Newport and moving to Oregon that I realized the good, far outweighed the bad. I realize now that I was right where I wanted to be. Maybe Newport wasn’t the perfect fit for me but that doesn’t mean that another beach, north or south of there, isn’t. Will I go back to Newport? I’m not sure. Probably not. I will be heading back to the coast though, that I do know – that I am sure of. Right now that is where I belong. I know this now.
“When life becomes too complicated and we feel overwhelmed, it’s often useful just to stand back and remind ourselves of our overall purpose, our overall goal. When faced with a feeling of stagnation and confusion, it may be helpful to take an hour, an afternoon, or even several days to simply reflect on what it is that will truly bring us happiness, and then reset our priorities on the basis of that. This can put our life back in proper context, allow a fresh perspective, and enable us to see which direction to take.” – Dalai Lama