Here I feel as if all my worries go away, as if they are being scooped up in the wind.
Here I lay in the sand while the sun beams down on me.
Here I can finally breathe without worrying what anyone has to say about me.
My summer was one to remember. Actually, it was one of the most memorable summers I have ever experienced. I found myself always busy, almost never having time to sit down. But that is the reason why this was my favorite summer ever in my life.
It all started off with softball, which is the same way all my summers start off. Something I haven’t really told people is that I think it’s kind of boring. Having games every day and every Saturday, it gets kind of old really fast. It consumed all of June which I am still upset about. I didn’t really have any friends on the team, so I just hung out with myself. Life gets lonely when you only have yourself. I admit, it felt good when we won a close game, but my question always was did it feel good enough to keep playing? I still haven’t decided. After we lost out last game, I felt as if my summer was just starting.
The last week in June 2017 I had the opportunity to visit California for the first time with my closest friends. This was all able to happen because of an organization called Future Business Leaders of America. It still hasn’t hit me that I visited one of my dream destinations over the summer. I couldn’t have done it without my mom whom I am very thankful for. I contemplated on not going on the trip because I didn’t think I could do it without my mom, but I took the chance. Summer is when you’re supposed to travel and be adventurous, and that is just what I did.
The day we flew to Anaheim, California was one of the best days of my life. The travel day was long and tiring and a whole 12 hours. The airports were full of a musty smell and packed full with people from all over the world. Everyone’s eyes lit up with a sparkle as we boarded our first plane. A lot of kids had never had the chance to be on a plane before so it was a brand new adventure for them. After the long day of travel, we arrived to California around 7p.m. The following day we took a trip the Huntington Beach. As soon as I stepped foot on the sand, I fell in love. I have always had a love for the ocean. The ocean is such a beautiful thing, so many living creatures in it. Just staring at it makes all my worries go away. The first thing I did when I got there was take off my shoes and let my feet emerge into the hot sand, reminding me of quicksand. I let the cold pacific water touch against my skin, numbing the areas it surrounded.
Here I feel the sand beneath my toes like scratchy sand paper.
Here I can dip my toes in the ice cold water, yet it didn’t bother me.
Here I can walk around the shore, looking at the never ending water ahead of me.
I stood there as I took all of the beauty in. I looked around the people surrounding me. The people I did not know. The kids playing with the sand making sand castles. The yelling and splashing the adults playing Frisbee in the water. The seagulls swooping down trying to take the man’s sandwich up on shore. I reached down and took a handle full of the sand. The warmth of the sun was against my skin. I let the sand wither away between each finger. Each grain different form the next. Realizing how pure the world really is. Standing there I realized life is simpler than what everyone makes it. Live your life as you wish. Let go of your worries. Be adventurous.
Later that day, a group of us decide to rent body boards to use in the ocean. The moment I stepped foot in the ocean, it took my breath away. The icy cold salt water numbed you to the touch. The waves were excessively big and overpowering. If you fell behind a big wave, it would throw you under like you were the size of a bread crumb. The wave would you under like a giant hand, pressing you against the broken sea shells. The fear of never coming out of the water was always in my mind. But I didn’t let it stop me from having some fun. About 30 minutes later, the lifeguards whistle went off. He pointed at us and said, “The waves are getting too big. We’re going to need you to let them die down.” And that was the end of tackling my fears.
The rest of the trip was like any other vacation. We went shopping and saw famous monuments. We got a quick glimpse of the Hollywood sign and took a short tour of Los Angeles. Before we knew it, it was time to head back home to Iowa. I looked around at my friends and saw glum faces of exhaustion and relief. It was a great experience, but we were all glad to be home.
A couple short weeks after I arrived home from California, I was able to take another adventure to Minnesota with my boyfriend and his family. In Minnesota, we stayed in a cabin right on Leech Lake. Although it wasn’t the ocean, this beach was just as beautiful. Down by the harbor, the sunset was always a faint coral and light blue mixture that was always picture worthy. You could peak in the shallow water by the docks and see the bright orange crawdads crawling beneath the surface. The water was so clear, as if you were staring into a thin sheet of glass. I bent over and let my fingertips trace over the water. To my surprise it was quite warm, which is totally different from the oceans coldness.
One morning in Minnesota, we all decide to go water skiing. I have never been water skiing in my whole life, and in my mind I was thinking about how scary it was going to be. As I sat on the boat, the wind blowing in my face, I contemplated on if it was worth risking my life for something so silly. Despite my fears, I decided to take the risk, and hopped in the lake water with my life jacket on tight. As my boyfriend was teaching me what to do and what to avoid, I thought of how many different ways I could potentially hurt myself. My body started shaking. My face grew a pale white, and my tears feel into the water as if they were never on my face in the first place. But I swallowed my fear, put my ski’s on, and grabbed tight to the handles that were connected to the boat about 30 feet away. As the boat took off, I got dragged with it. I immediately went under water and let go of the handles. The same thing happened as we tried the second time. I said to myself, “Gabbie, you get one more try. If you mess up, were going back to the boat and forgetting about it.” I gave myself another chance, and as the boat took off, I flew with it. I stood straight up and traveled about 100 feet until I had a not so great landing, but that was beside the point. I was so proud of myself. I conquered something that I didn’t think I was capable of. Because of this one accomplishment, I realized I am capable of much more than what I thought was possible.
Here I feel most free, as if nothing in the world is a better feeling.
Here I can soak in all of life’s glory.
Here I know I belong.
Here I finally realized I am worth something more.