There are moments in life which fill you with joy.
I don’t mean happiness.
I mean joy.
Moments with my family can fill you with joy, for sure.
Moments of personal success can also fill me with joy.
But, I find, that often, the things that bring me joy are the experiences that spark memories from childhood.
And my childhood wasn’t necessarily filled with joy.
But there were moments…
So, what sparked this line of thought?
Last week, my family vacationed at the beach.
New Jersey was in the middle of an intense heat wave, and the air was thick and hot and suffocating.
I don’t love the beach.
But, man, do I love the ocean.
Tiny and Baby played in the surf and Real Man, Monkey Girl, Monkey in the Middle and I went out to bob in the waves.
And, as the kids and I do, when in the water, we started searching for the perfect wave.
That wave that would drive us into the shore.
The water was rough and the waves kept coming.
Over and over again, I bodysurfed those waves.
And you just know, when you are in it, whether it will take you all the way or drop you off midway to shore.
You need to feel just the right rumble of churning water under your stomach, and that’s your signal that you are going the distance.
And when I feel that rumble, I smile.
As hard as I try to keep my mouth closed, I smile and shriek and laugh and tumble and get knocked around like a leaf in the wind and it fills me with an unparalleled glee.
As a kid, we vacationed at the beach, and I would spend the entire day catching these waves, and even today, as an adult, I don’t care how disheveled I am as the waves deposit me on the sand.
And I am disheveled.
My hair is full of seaweed, and it covers my face as I’m gasping for air, choking, coughing, bathing suit askew, and I’m running back out to catch the next one, immediately.
I have no inhibitions in the ocean, because the ocean gives me such joy.
To be caught in a body so vast and a power so strong.
My dream has always been to open a used bookstore where people could come and exchange their books for new ones at minimal cost.
There would be an area to sit and read and drink coffee or tea, and I imagine shelves bursting with well-read, well-loved books, that would change hands again and again and again.
And I want this bookstore to exist at the beach, because what’s better than finding that vacation read while on vacation.
That’s my dream, and it just doesn’t work anywhere that isn’t the beach, because at the end of the day, when I close the door, and flip the sign to “Closed,” I want to hit the beach and get tossed around a little by nature.
Because, for me, that is joy.