I don’t like sand above my ankles.
Don’t get me wrong. I love looking out onto a beautiful sandy beach, especially in the morning hours after nightly high tides have smoothed it to a fresh, blank surface. I adore walking along the ocean, savoring that delicious sinking feeling, watching the grains outlining my feet lighten, and then looking back to see my footsteps fill with an incoming wave. And as I stretch out on a beach chair with a good book, I love burying my toes into darker grains beneath the surface, feeling it swath me in comforting coolness.
But I don’t like sand on my beach towels, I don’t like sand on my chair, I cringe when sand gets mixed in with sunscreen or is tracked into my beach house, and I most definitely do not like having sand in my butt crack which is ALWAYS the case in those rare occasions when I swim in the ocean.
Sharing this revelation to others often bring shocked responses such as:
You love going to the beach but don’t like sand? You can’t be a beach lover if you don’t love sand.
So for the longest time, I viewed my dislike of sand as a flaw … a sign that I’m too prissy, too rigid, that I need to loosen up and embrace the messy grains of life, and that I’m not a real beach person.
That there is something wrong with me.
This belief was compounded by the fact that I also crave organization, tidiness, and I’m an obsessed planner and journaler who schedules her days, weeks, and months and always micro-plan vacations.
In stories, characters like me … us prissy planners with organized to-do lists and few dust bunnies beneath our beds … are often told that we need to loosen up! Be more spontaneous! Throw away the planners, leave the dirty dishes, and throw caution to the wind!
Often, we’re shown the errors of our carefully plotted lives by someone who is the direct opposite of us: Carefree folks who live by the seat of their pants and by the end of the novel, convince us to chuck our journals and embrace an unscripted, impromptu life.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I could use some more spontaneity and get away from the office more.
But here’s the thing: I love being organized.
I love having a tidy, comfortable house, I absolutely ADORE pretty planners and journals, I love micro-planning vacations for months prior because it makes me even more excited for my trip, and I love making giant to-do lists because putting tasks onto paper instead of running rampage in my head gives me a sense of order.
And I most certainly do love a clean beach towel that’s free of sand.
It’s simply who I am.
This is why I enjoy reading novels where a character’s preferences are eventually embraced instead of being viewed as flaws. Like in Rosie’s Traveling Tea Shop where Rosie often cleans her camper van in order to gain a sense of calm and order. While Rosie did need to break out of her binding comfort zone, her growth became full-circle when she realized that being an organized planner is who she is, how she survives this crazy world, and what she enjoys. This revelation tells me that Rosie will be okay in the long run of life … and not just for moments after the last chapter.
Because you can only swim against the currents for so long.
So I’ve learned to embrace me for me … someone who enjoys meticulous planning, who loves to-do lists, and tidiness, and someone who will never like having sand on my towels, in my house, and certainly not in my butt crack. And if you’re the exact opposite, that’s perfectly wonderful as well, I celebrate and applaud your happiness!
Be you, sweetie. Unapologetically.
But if you could … please wipe your feet before coming inside?