Until I Googled the phrase just now, I didn't realize that "life is a beach" is viewed as a counterpoint to "life is a bitch."
Makes sense, I guess.
But having just spent eight days on Maui's Napili Bay beach (photo above), I never thought of that. Almost right away, my wife and I fell into that state of beach'y mind that, really, should be viewed as ordinary rather than unusual.
Beaches erase inhibitions. Adults act like kids. Why can't we do this all of the time? Or at least, all the times the boss isn't watching. More silly, more crazy, more no reason not to. That's a great gift of beaches.
Don't be afraid of being the only one. The more skilled I get at boogie boarding, the less I worry about being all alone in a wave-catching spot. Yes, sometimes there's a reason no one else is doing what you are. However, often other people either don't know how to catch the waves I can, or they don't want to. March to the beat of your own drummer, even if you're all by yourself.
During this visit to Napili Bay I was struck by the marvelous adults act like kids effect that beaches have. Maybe it was because every time I play in the Maui ocean, I'm older myself.
Also, my eight-year-old granddaughter and her family joined us for about half the time.
Before she arrived, I acted more like the experienced 66-year old boogie boarder that I am. I held out for waves breaking over the reefs in the bay, even though they were few and far between. I saw kids playing in the beach-breaking waves at the other end of the bay, but never joined them.
Until Evelyn arrived. Then I belatedly let my inner kid loose. She and I had a great time on our boogie boards, being thrown up onto the sloping beach as waves broke upon the sand.
Why didn't I do this before? I guess I failed to follow my own life lessons. More silly, more crazy. Don't be afraid of being the only one.
During the four days my granddaughter and I boogie boarded together, I don't recall seeing any adults other than me and Evelyn's father boogie'ing on the beach-crashing waves. No matter.
Like this kid whose family posted photos of him having fun on Napili Beach, I had an equally good time -- once my granddaughter helped me unleash my adult inhibitions.
Yeah, I got a lot of sand in my swim trunks (and other places). Yeah, mostly I was zooming along sand in several inches of foamy water. Yeah, almost all of my boogie boarding comrades were 1/6 my age or younger.
Like I said, no matter.
Just as other beachgoers felt. It was moving to see a white-haired elderly couple bobbing along in the ocean, she supported by a colorful beach inner tube, he pushing her along. Probably they were in their 80's. They were smiling like they were eight.
When they headed for shore, he helped her up onto the beach with wonderful care. She wasn't spry. It was difficult for her to walk out of the water. He lovingly supported her as she got her footing, keeping her upright step by very slow step.
Beaches turn almost everybody into who cares how I look kids again. I wish every place was a beach. Not literally, of course. In peoples' minds. Poet Mary Oliver asked:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Look upon life as a beach is a pretty damn good answer.