Summer Days and Life Lessons

Earlier this week Darren and I went to the beach with our friends, Victor and Olga. V and O are in love with a beach in Rhode Island that Darren and I had never seen. So we all loaded in our cars and took of to see this spot we’ve heard so much about. A few minutes out from the beach we parked and climbed into Victor’s boat for the rest of the trip out to their spot.

I’m so glad they decided to share this place with us because it’s honestly the prettiest beach front I’ve seen in New England. I was completely mesmerized the whole day. As soon as we were on shore, I was busy walking along the water gathering shells and rocks and I even found a crab claw I plan on terrorizing Darren with.

{Such a happy couple}

{Earthy treasures from the sea}

There was bright green sea weed floating around and lots of the rocks had taken on the same lime green color—so of course I filled my pockets with them to haul back home and scatter around my house. Every time we go to the beach I look for little earthy treasures to take home and decorate with. My living room is filled with mason jars full of sand and shells from all over. There’s also a whole birch tree in my living room, because yes, I drag those indoors too :]

{I drug the tree in the house by myself and cut it in half on the kitchen floor with a hack saw…wahaha}

Darren sometimes forbids me from bringing any more nature indoors and I always smile like I’m listening and fill my pockets anyway. I think he doesn’t mind in the end because he’s always showing off our jars of sea treasure when we have company and telling everyone about the adventures that went along with each bit of nature we’ve brought back home.

Once we unloaded all our stuff from the boat and settled in on the beach, the boys decided to take the boat back out on the ocean exploring. Olga and I opted for staying on the beach with the kids and away from the wild ocean waves—we know too well by now how those boys like to drive the boat like it’s a water rocket.

{The boys}

The kids took off for the sand and waves and were quickly busy digging holes and building sand castles by the sea.

{The kids + Victor digging in the sand}

Victor and Olga are Russian. They have three children; the oldest is in school and speaks English perfectly. Their daughter hasn’t started school yet and only speaks Russian. And then there’s the baby who speaks, well, baby. They also have a little boy from the Ukraine staying with them for the summer and he only speaks Ukrainian. So there were three children playing together prattling off in three different languages and yet they understood each other perfectly. Childhood is simply a language all its own.

{All the world is magic when you are five years old}

Olga and I settled into camping chairs in the sand with our legs and arms stretched out hoping for a kiss from the sun.

Just me and Olga.

Olga scares me a little bit because she’s very pretty and put together. She always wears nice clothes and has her hair done. She even smells good…how ridiculous is that? I always walk away from my time with her feeling like a frump and loser who needs to get her life together. It’s not Olga’s fault I feel this way either. She’s very nice and doesn’t do anything to make me feel bad. It’s my own jealousy and insecurity that leaves me feeling this way and not anything she needs to change. I share this because I knew going into our little beach trip that I wouldn’t have any fun if I let my feelings about O intimidate me. I decided this time I wanted things to be different. I wanted to relax and give O a chance instead of putting her in a little box of perfection she may not herself want to be in.

On the boat ride over to the beach I kept glancing over at her. She looked lovely. Her outfit was cute. Her hair wasn’t attacking her in the wind like mine was. I wanted to push her off the boat. No I didn’t…well, I sort of did :] But I decided I was going to do my best to open up and get to know her better that day. Usually I clam up and try to play it cool so she won’t figure out how not together my life is. But I knew I was being fake and frivolous and it was time to get past fear and insecurity. So after the boys left we started chatting…just our usual small talk at first. But then I started asking her questions and she asked me questions too. I thought I would be miserable trying to talk to her and open up but before I knew it the sun was dipping behind the sandy hills and were wrapping up in sweaters to stay warm. Olga told me about her life. She told me about some of the things that are bothering her and things that aren’t going right. She would stop sometimes, struggling to think of a word in English or how to communicate an idea from Russian to English. She told me I’m the only person she ever really speaks to in English and she feels silly when she can’t think of a word. I couldn’t believe Olga ever felt silly in front of me. I told her I forget words in English too and it’s the only language I speak :]

{Beautiful Olga}

I learned a lot about O that day and I learned a lot about myself too. I learned that as perfect as Olga looks and seems, she is a girl just like me. A girl with a heart that can be broken, feelings that get hurt, and fears that follow her just like me. I learned that I don’t need to try to be like Olga to have my life put together. I just need to be who I am, as imperfect as that may be. If I wear things because Olga wears them or say things because Olga says them, I’m not more like her, I’m just less like me. I cheat myself by thinking imitation will bring me any closer to who I should be. The truth is, Olga and I are very different people. We grew up in different countries and even in America, take part in very different cultures. She is six years older than me and the mother of three children. We are in very different places in life. How can I expect to know and be all that she is when we are so different in the very fibers that make us who we are? I realized that day, as we snacked on fresh fruit and treats from the Russian grocer, that my fears and insecurities are just that—fear and insecurity. There is nothing wrong with me and there is nothing unattainable about Olga; we are just different people. I’m glad I gave O a chance because I left the beach that day with a great sense of peace and confidence. Instead of feeling unattractive and inadequate, I left feeling inspired. Inspired to be the person I’m meant to be. Inspired to learn from the things I admire in Olga, not to merely mimic them. Inspired to grow and change…into myself, not into someone else.

{This is who I am, no one else}

The boys came back with the last rays of light and soon we were all marching off to get ice cream together. We sat on a wall with our ice cream watching the boats bobble on the water. There was a cannon like BOOM and people screamed; I laughed. Laughter is a nervous reaction for me. I have a feeling when the ol’ apocalypse gets here I’ll be laying on the ground giggling while everyone else runs for their lives. Maybe it’s a coping mechanism :] Victor said they do that BOOM to let everyone know it’s sunset. Olga joked about how we should probably know it’s sunset without a cannon going off and we all laughed. Of course she’s funny too…maybe I’ll push her off the boat on the way back home :]

It was a lovely day of sand and sunshine…and a life lesson or two as well. I’m thankful.

We left after dark. The black water looked like pools of ink as we glided over it. I wanted to dip my quill in it and write you a story, this story.


25 thoughts on “Summer Days and Life Lessons

  1. My daughter is Krista with a K… I guess I have a fondness for girls with a K.

    I enjoyed your ‘stream of consciousness’… and thought that The black water looked like pools of ink as we glided over it. I wanted to dip my quill in it and write you a story, this story. was lovely.

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  2. Oh how I long to be the girl walking into a room completely accessorized with a perfectly calm smile across my face, lighting up the room. I yearn to be on time for something and have everything I need with me. I wish I did not drop things or shuffle through endless papers trying to find the one I need right now. I try to be so much like they expected I’d turn out and not so much like the mess inside my head- my thoughts that jump from one thing to another randomly and sometimes with no connection what-so-ever. I long to be able to accomplish all the things on my list before I make another list and another….This rainy Sunday morning, I read your post and realize I focus far too much on creating the illusion of me instead of starting with my authentic self and going from there. –thanks for the post.

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    • I like what you said about “creating the illusion of me instead of starting with my authentic self” It’s so easy to focus on pleasing people and striving for some perfectionistic idea in my head when really we should just be who we are, growing into ourselves each and every day. Thanks for reading!

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  3. Wow. I love, love, love your posts. What you wrote about, we all share. I can be so intimidated so easily. I keep telling myself that I am 50 something+, and I should be past this stage of my life. Your post illuminates that it isn’t an age, a nationality, or upbringing, that make us insecure. Thank you for your honest writing and your openness to share. I love the photos and especially love the birch tree in your living room! So cute. When my dear hubby was in the navy, he used to bring our daughters shells from all over the world, we still have them all and it is a wonderful reminder of where you have been. DAF

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    • You’re right, insecurity isn’t bound by age or even stopped by all the good things we have going for us. I have to remind myself all the time to be genuine and open instead of hiding behind someone I’m pretending to be.
      I love that birch tree too :]

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  4. a beautiful and deep post. We all have to keep learning, and discovering how to appreciate the world… and I like the way you’re working at it. May you have many lovely days like this one you’ve described/

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  5. Amazing photos, awesome story. I like happy-ending life lessons. And will now be dragging a tree into my house. I think we all have a thing or two we can learn from children – at least when they are being nice to each other. Have a great weekend!

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