The Simple Things

October 8, 2011
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Curious reader, I can tell you this, no feeling can compare to lying down in a shore, sand at your back, cool water at your feet, good friends at your sides, a drink and music by your head, and a blue, sunny sky on top. People say it’s the simple things that matter; I completely agree. In Puerto Rico, there is perhaps no simpler guilty pleasure than indulging on a summer’s day at the beach.
At some point in every Puerto Rican's life (and I do mean everybody’s), they go through a stage where going to the beach is done almost routinely for a while and then it stops. Perhaps it’s the heritage we share or some form of collective consciousness that leads to this curious cultural trait, either way this is not the point, curious reader.
I remember my childhood beach at the Caribe Hilton: a perfectly rock-less shore, water so clear and beautifully turquoise that I could see myself reflected in it, surrounded by tourist and natives tanning. The beach had been literally made with a rock barrier to block waves and the sand had been rearranged to make the shore more flat. There were restaurants a few steps away and waiters waiting at your beck and call to bring you a cold beverage. It was a perfect, post card worthy scene. Growing up I would go there with my parents and my sister on countless summer days. That was during my first beach routine stage. However, time went by and I slowly stopped enjoying that beach. Other interests distracted me and the memory fluttered away.
Years went by, and I was well preoccupied. I earned my black belt in Tae Kwon Do proudly at the age of 15. I travelled incessantly with my parents to over 47 countries, broadening my interest in other cultures and at the same time arousing my love for mine. Slowly I began to develop an interest in music learning to play the bass and it, in turn, took an interest in me, teaching me and stimulating in me one of the less common of intellectual curiosities; a curiosity of the senses. Longing for experiences I became a Boy Scout and learned invaluable knowledge being exposed to other cultures attending national and international world scout jamborees. Being an intern to both a Puerto Rican senator and a congressman of Maryland I gained insight into life. My view of the world widened as I became older.
One summer day, and I do not recall how the circumstances came to be, I ended up going to the beach with my friends. I did not go to the Caribe Hilton. I went to Ocean Park, its rocky shore overly crowded with people, the “less sophisticated” natives, a beach were an actual restaurant is a mile away and there is no such thing as a life guard. You won’t see a single tourist there and there is especially no rock barrier to block the waves. It was a new place for me. I was there for a short time but the visit was enough to spark my second beach routine stage. A week later I went to the Caribe Hilton with my family.
As I stood at the beach in the Caribe Hilton, with the warm sun kissing my skin, looking at myself reflected in the beautiful turquoise water much like in my childhood, I realized I preferred the Ocean Park beach. I had out grown the Caribe Hilton beach.
In reflecting on the events of my life I realized what had happened many years ago. I started to enjoy less the Caribe Hilton as my personality developed into something different, deviating away from the man made shores and the stone wave breakers. That wasn’t me anymore. I preferred the rocky shore because that’s how life is- it’s not going to be an easy road. I preferred the crowded beach because they were all different people much like the different cultures I had learned to love through my travels. I preferred the beach where I will go on an adventure to get to the actual restaurant. I had evolved and I had come to realize even if I did not know it at the time, I did not want life to be easier; I just wanted it to be simpler.
Curious reader, someday I may or may not return to the “fake” beach at the Caribe Hilton. If I don’t, I know it’s because I still prefer to dive into new experiences, to take the road less travelled, and to hunger for new knowledge. It means I still prefer the simple things.

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ConsultOryx said...
Oct. 19, 2011 at 10:10 pm

This does make for a good essay. But you need to make a few changes.

1. Stop using calling your reader, curious reader. Actually do not refer to your reader at all. 

2. Delete the first two and the last paragraph. Your essay is better when you jump right into the beach at Caribe Hilton and end on why you have out grown it. 

Otherwise, I like it. 

PuertoRico replied...
Oct. 20, 2011 at 6:49 pm
Thank you :)
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