I’d been suffering from a serious case of ennui this summer, and I felt guilty about it.
I know I’m lucky, by most standards. In the past few months, friends have lost their jobs and their businesses. Some have lost parents, spouses or siblings.
Many are struggling to juggle a 40-hour work week while overseeing their children’s virtual school.
California is on fire, Colorado is iced in, and my Louisiana hometown was crushed by Hurricane Laura.
Let’s face it. A lot of folks out there are doing everything they can to hold it together.
By contrast, my husband and I are still employed. Our family is healthy and mostly happy.
I have a cozy home office from which to work, and a faithful dog to keep me company.
I meet friends regularly for socially distant exercise, and have gotten comfortable visiting some nearby restaurants.
Yes, I’ve had to postpone a few trips, and family Thanksgiving in Alabama is cancelled this year. The good far outweighs the bad.
So why was I fighting the urge to curl up in a ball in a corner of the sofa, surviving on nothing but rosé, Totino’s Pizza Rolls and reruns of “Friends,” an urge that made me feel ungrateful, which made me more inclined to binge-watch ’90s sitcoms.
I found myself staring into the computer screen, forgetting what I was supposed to do next. I needed to break the cycle. I needed the beach.
In a year when spring break lasted for five months and summer never happened, a few days of salt and sand seemed to be just the antidote I needed.
I usually have a love-hate relationship with the beach. I love the sound and the smell and the icy chill when you first dive into the waves. But I don’t have a beach complexion, and I prefer a sand-free environment.
Though we live 20 minutes from the beach, packing food and sunscreen and chairs and a cooler and towels and an umbrella and an ice chest often means we’re cranky and exhausted before we even leave the house.
The Doubletree Melbourne Beach, however, offered everything I craved without all the hassel.
Longtime friends decided to join us, and we were able to book side-by-side rooms on the eighth floor with balconies overlooking the Atlantic.
The ocean was mirror calm during our stay, the moon was full, and our usual afternoon showers must have decided to take a break that week, too.
After a masked elevator ride to the ground floor, we stepped out into the sea air and trudged across the deck to the beach access. Once on the sand, we discovered lounge chairs and umbrellas, already set up and waiting (for a nominal fee).
We spent our days swimming and napping in the shade and our nights sipping wine and dining at South Brevard’s beachside restaurants. We celebrated our last beach day with a rocket launch.
For a few days, I lived like a tourist, taking the time to enjoy this place we call home.
I’m still sad about what’s happening around me. My heart aches for those going through unimaginably tough times. But the ennui has lifted.
I’m reminded that in recent months, friends have had babies and gotten married and bought new houses. Birthday cake has been eaten, and breakfast has been served in bed.
Good things continue to happen in the midst of all the bad.
It took a beach staycation to remind me of that.
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