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As I find myself in the throes of this adult life, I sometimes long to go back to the simple, easy days of my youth.
At night, I dream that I am in a faraway place where the sun warms my skin during the day and the gentle lapping of the ocean lulls me into a deep peaceful sleep at night.
I lay on a beautiful sandy beach while watching vendors try to sell the sunscreen-slathered tourists jewelry, hats, and T-shirts. I watch families pass by with their beach chairs, sand toys, and towels. I hear the sounds of children laughing as they splash water at each other, and their shrieks of delight as they tease each other playfully.
As I slip into the water and feel the waves wash over me, the cool water soothes my warm skin. The sea washes a lifetime of worries away.
I watch a group of teenage girls stroll down to the beach in that confident, yet still uncertain way that they have about them. Their bodies are still perfect as they have not yet been marked by life and time. I watch as they spot a group of boys playing football in the sand.
They walk by slowly hoping that the boys will notice them. The boys stop throwing the ball for a minute and watch the girls as they pass. With an air of confidence about her, as she is used to getting what she wants, the prettiest of the group wiggles her finger motioning for the boys to follow them. “Come with us,” she says “let’s hang out.”
The other girls giggle and look on, secretly hoping that they will. And they agree, as I knew they would. I watch them walk away together smiling and laughing, and I remember that feeling of excitement from so long ago.
I gaze out at the water and remember when I was 15 years old and didn’t have a care in the world. A time when I hadn’t experienced true and deeply profound love, often followed by painful breakups. When adult responsibilities had not become a part of my day-to-day existence.
I only knew the excitement of a first glance, the first time looking into someone’s eyes, sweet and shy words whispered to each other under the night sky, and soft innocent kisses on the beach.
We both knew that we were together for only a brief time before our families took us home to opposite ends of the world, but we would promise to stay in touch and vow that the next summer we would see each other again. We knew it wasn’t true, but we desperately wished for it.
When the next summer came, it would always bring a new boy, a new love, and another promise. It was innocent and beautiful and lovely.
I’d love to go back to that time in my life, where every day was exciting, beautiful, and hopeful. I want that younger, bright-eyed version of me back.
I want to go back and be the person I was before the realities of this world brought me to my knees so many times. A time when I didn’t have to feel the pain over the loss of a parent, the sadness over the breakup of my marriage, or the stress and anxiety that I deal with every single day because someone that I love has an addiction. A time where I wasn’t constantly afraid that I might lose him forever to this disease. A time when these things just didn’t exist.
I would like to go back to a time when there was an exciting world right outside of my door, laid right out in front of me just waiting to be discovered. When painful breakups didn’t take months and sometimes even years to heal. A time when we were over that breakup by the next week when a new love in our life came along. A time when no one wanted or expected anything from me.
At times, I feel like life is so crazy busy that I never seem to have the time to stop and look around and see what I may be missing. I then remember the sweet innocence of my old self again. I can reconnect to that time when everything was still bright, shiny, and new.
Sometimes I dream of that faraway place where I can watch the world go by as the sun kisses my skin and the waves lull me into a peaceful sleep. A place where time stops and I can be 15 again.
I know I can never go back, but I can choose to be mindful of the life I choose to live now. We can all take the time to stop—if only for a brief moment—and see all of the wonderful things that are right here in front of us.
In this life, it is important to let our souls and mind wander and be free to experience the joy of just being alive. To appreciate this beautiful life that we have been given.
We can choose to let our young innocent selves come to the surface so we can see the world through fresh eyes again.
We can be reminded that our lives today can be as magical as it was then. We just need to take the time to make it happen.