Every couple of weeks I find myself leaving my safe and sober haven and when I do, I have to remember that I need to be able to co-exist with the masses. I find the longer I’m sober the easier it gets, but it still leaves me walking away scratching my head and saying to myself, “Why can’t everyone just be loving and accepting of others?” Ha-ha! So not how I lived pre-sober days. I was loud, brash and in your face (shockingly I can still be like that, but not as aggressive). Today I get to live my life by principles and the example of others. It always seems to go back to Step 11; “It’s a spiritual axiom that every time we are disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us.” Ahhh right, ok.
I’m currently re-reading The Four Agreements and for me the most important one is “Don’t take anything personally.” Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves. So easy to read, so hard to digest.
This past weekend my husband and I decided to check out a beach near us that we hadn’t visited yet, Lovers Key State Park, about a 25 minute drive north of us. It’s a state park, so we knew it’d be crowded, and we were okay with that. At least that’s what we tell ourselves – until we arrive. We arrived and of course there was no parking, so I waited for husband to park and I sat with our beach gear until he got back. Since the secluded white sandy beach is about a mile away, there is a tram that shuttles over, and for that we were grateful. We get on the tram and all is great, we go over a bridge of water and the peacefulness of the bay relaxes me and I’m eager to put toes in sand. It’s an amazingly hot and sunny day and when we arrive we find our spot in the sand for our afternoon of relaxation and serenity, which we strategically chose to be away from the bigger parties of families, kids and the what not. The water is blue green; there are folks in kayaks, paddle boards, rafts and a few small craft boats near us. It’s a postcard kind of an afternoon. I have my just arrived day before Memoir, by Augusten, and I’m ready to relax and be in my happy place.
For the first hour or so, our lounging was great – husband likes to suntan and chill, while I prefer to read, people watch and dip in the water to cool off. About 30 minutes after my serene lounging, I hear this woman, screaming very loudly, at her child to eat her sandwich. This crowd of folks, about 15, was maybe 40 yards away from us. Far enough away that I shouldn’t have heard this and far away enough that I shouldn’t have been able to stare and judge – but I did. I realized this crew had been in the water when we chose our serene spot and now they were ready to get their party on. Minutes later they started playing dance club music and the crew got even louder. I was trying to be okay with the revelers, but I wasn’t and I got quite annoyed, as did my husband. We contemplated moving further down the beach to get away from the party scene, but I just kept giving dirty looks (which of course they couldn’t see, but I felt better!).
A bit later, I decided to go grab a sandwich at the lunch stand, and as I walked by the revelers, it was apparent red Solo cups were holding jungle juice, but that didn’t even bother me as much as the berating of children continued on. It didn’t seem they were going to be taking a break anytime soon either. I arrive at the stand only to find that I’m fifth in line and the wait is quite long. My afternoon serenity was pretty much shot by then. I started feeling self-righteous saying to myself, “It’s our holiday weekend too – why can’t everyone be aware of others and not be so self indulgent?” Within minutes (which is good for me), I realized that we all just need to be ok in the real world and try to live harmoniously with our neighbors. I also need to realize that when I leave my sober haven, not everyone is living a life of compassion, tolerance and love. I have to be in acceptance of everyone, and remember that I too was one of those partying revelers and that I’m here to embrace life today and not take anything personally. Thanks Agreement #2.