I recently changed my Twitter bio and wanted to put a few of my favourite things in there. It got me thinking, what do I love most in the world? Apart from the obvious family and friends, writing, a cup of tea, one thing stood out to me – I love the sea. I love being by it, I love the sound of it, I even love swimming in it. As this blog is just figuring out its way into the world this year, minus all my challenges, I thought I might try out writing a love letter to my favourite things and the sea was the first I thought of.
I spent a lot of time by the sea in that strange limbo period between Christmas and New Year and it was the happiest time I’ve had in a while. I think I needed a break, some space to think and reflect and being by the sea allows me to do that (I apologise in advance for the amount of times I write the word sea in this post!) It doesn’t have to be hot and I don’t have to be sunbathing, in fact I think some of my favourite times have been in the winter. There’s something about wrapping up warm and heading for a beach walk, having to pull your scarf up over your nose and wearing your favourite wellies. The wildness of the sea in the wind, the freedom and peacefulness it seems to contain. It blows out the cobwebs and you come home longing for the fire but feeling fresh and thinking clearly.
When I was younger I would have done anything to avoid the beach walks my family made me go on. It was too cold, I’d say. Too windy. Too far to walk. How I’ve changed since then. Even if it’s raining and blowing a howling gale, I’m happy to be out there. Now, I wish I’d embraced that time more. I can’t count the number of sand constructions we built as a team with my grandparents. I can’t call them sandcastles, they were simply too grand for that name. All we needed was a couple of spades and we’d dig huge excavations, with passages from the sea and flags made out of leaves. It would always be after Christmas so the beach would be almost completely empty. It felt like a family mission, like something so important.
The beach is such a great place to people watch too, summer or winter. Last time I went, I witnessed dog walkers arguing over a board game they’d played the night before. I saw a surfer preparing to brave the wild winter sea. I saw children attempting to build a moat, whilst their Dad begged them not to go any closer to the water. I saw an old couple holding hands and staring into the horizon. Ourselves, we had three generations and a dog. We were throwing balls, posing for photographs, talking about what we’d bought in the seaside sales.
But time alone by the sea is also a favourite of mine and one day I long to live closer to it. It feels peaceful, particularly in the winter. You can walk and not be interrupted, you can stare as far as the eye can see and you can really think. I decided to start this blog whilst on a rather long beach walk, I decided to quit my job on another. You think more clearly with that whistling, lapping sound in your ear and sniffing sea salt through your nose. I think those Victorians may just have been right about beach holidays having healing properties. I feel that little bit better about whatever I’m worrying about if I just visit the sea.
One day, whatever I’m doing and wherever my life happens to be, I long to live so that I can see the sea out of my window. If you’ve got something to mull over, I recommend taking a quick trip to the coast.