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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Lessons from a month on the beach – Year 3

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

sunset on the beach

How quickly February comes and goes when you are at the beach!

Our month on Cape San Blas, Florida has come to an end and now that we are “back home again in Indiana,” rather than feel remorse, we remind ourselves that we missed a month of frigid cold and are one month closer to spring!

I’m a firm believer in reflecting on experiences, so while driving home we reflected on the lessons we learned our first two years visiting the Cape and created a list for this year. Read our lessons from year 1 and year 2.

More lessons from a month on the beach:

#1 – Returning to the same location creates loyalty and builds traditions.

We have fallen in love with this beachside community and now have favorite spots for hiking, shelling, shopping, and eating out. We are among the 150+ “snowbirds” that worship each Sunday at the Port St. Joe Methodist Church every February. Even when we are away we follow their progress in rebuilding from the hurricane on Facebook.

#2 – Counting is fun!

When on vacation, track things for fun: 2,607 miles driven, 340,000 steps walked, 11 guests hosted, 4 key lime pies made and consumed, 70 dolphin sightings, and countless shells collected.

#3 – When doing activities as a group, establish clear expectations:

Set a firm time to leave, where and when to meet, agree on places to go and things to do. Divide up as needed to meet individual needs. Be flexible!

#4 – Agree to disagree.

Even with someone you feel a strong connection with regarding most things, you may disagree when it comes to politics and other emotionally-charged topics. With February full of presidential debates and primaries, we learned disagreements are best handled by listening, sharing with respect, remaining silent, and agreeing to disagree.

#5 – The grass isn’t always greener.

We traded shoveling snow for walking barefoot in the sand, which is warm and beautiful but gets everywhere! We may never get it out of our car! And that’s not all. We take connecting to the internet for granted, even in rural Indiana where the service leaves much to be desired. But compared to the service available at our beach house, the speed and reliability at home are far superior.

#6 – Don’t lose your sense of wonder.

How long does it take for us to fail to notice the beauty and wonder surrounding us? I never grew tired of watching the sunrise over the bay, the sunset over the gulf, the waves breaking on the shore, dolphins coming to the surface, gulls flying overhead and diving for pieces of bread thrown in the air, and feeling the warm breeze on your face. Everywhere you look you can find beauty. Take notice.

Vacations help us slow down and appreciate the world around us. Can we remember during “regular time” to stop and watch a sunrise or sunset, notice a bird in our yard, or feel the sunshine and breezes on a walk in our very own neighborhood? We can and we must.

Until we return to the beach next year, we need to heed our lessons learned and fully enjoy each day. Here. Now.

“Time wasted at the beach is time well spent.” ~ Unknown

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