The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. I took some mixed family/work trips that both commenced in spending time near the water. I'm from Ohio originally. I grew up in the 70's when our bodies of water were contaminated with toxic sludge. My parents would encourage us to go outside, mainly to get out of their hair, and come back when the street lights came on. Kids would leave their homes after sucking down whatever sugary breakfast cereal was available, wash it down with some tang or juicey juice, then head out for adventure.
I was in the third our fourth grade when I would climb into construction sites, only to find a few stashed penthouse magazines and a few Budweiser's. None of the stuff made any sense to me. In my entire life, I never heard my parents have sex and barely ever saw them kiss each other. My mother started sleeping on the couch downstairs when I was 12 so I grew up assuming us kids were created through some type of spontaneous combustion. I never learned about healthy relationships because I never really saw one. Occasionally, I would get locked out of the house. I would have to sit at the neighbors until my mom came home. I would see how things ran between those couples and wonder why were we such freaks. I generally only saw adults together at social functions where brown beverages were involved that made the mothers louder and the fathers more involved in sporting events. Children were to be seen, but not heard, with the exception of fetching some "uncle" or friend another drink.
In contrast, my children are rarely around adults with the exception of their parents. There are no sprawling yards I can use to release them back into the wild. The closest playground, a few houses over, doubles as an area where homebums use the playstructure to sleep it off or teenagers sit huddled together on the picnic table. While she is smoking weed, he squeezes farther and farther up her thigh in endless frustration as places to go are limited for lovers in this congested area. They leave 20 minutes later. She gets her buzz, he gets some blue balls. I suppose they are both moderately satisfied yet my children have to wait for this to play out while they dodge getting broken glass and tan bark in their crocs. Having a life of carefree play involves planning. So we take them away, watch them on the sands of a different city and pray for the future to be free of the addictions that have plagued our own families.
I went on a boat Friday. I have been in a row boat, a bass boat, a whale watching tour, but this was my first time out on a sail boat. The time out on the open ocean makes me realize how there is so much more to life than what you can find in the bottom of a spoon. The world wasn't measured in grams, it was measured in our distance to land. The sea creatures looked at me with their scratches and shark bites as to say "get over yourself. You think YOU have it rough. This is where I live..." The ocean gives me perspective. Grab ahold of something you love besides drugs. There is so much to see out there. I am not asking you to quit, just look around.