Work has taken me to Florida again. This time, I planned a trip to the beach as it will likely rain the rest of the week. I wanted to get some sand between my toes before I dive into work tomorrow.
After dinner, I sat on the beach for a glorious hour, listening to waves crash and watching a dad bury his two girls in the sand. I received a text that my parking meter was running low, so I reluctantly headed back to the MINIVAN the rental place gave me.
An old man (and by old, I mean way older than my father), was sitting in a row of chairs in the plaza by himself. He made eye contact so I went over and introduced myself. Carl is no longer able to get down to the ocean. Bad knees, bad hips, bad everything, so he comes down and sits as close to the ocean as he can.
He asked how it was down on the beach and if I put my toes in the water and the sand and what it felt like, so I told him. This particular beach had damp, coarse sand that actually flaked off easier than powdered sand. He thought that was a great description.
We talked some more, then he said, “go while you can. You never know when you won’t be able to feel the sand between your toes anymore.”
He was still smiling, but my heart broke a little bit. Clearly, he loved the ocean. Those chairs were as close as he was going to get to it at this point in his life as far as he was concerned.
I’m not old by any means, but I know I am at the end of the summer of my life. I can’t imagine a time when I won’t be able to do simple things that give me pleasure, but I know it’s inevitable.
“Enjoy everything while you can,” he reiterated. “Was it a good trip to the beach?”
Yes, Carl, it was. Thank you for the reminder that I need to squeeze everything I can out of every moment I can.