I sit down to write and think: there’s too much on my mind to write properly. Then, it occurs to me: that is what it is about. It is taking the too much and chipping away at it like a madman with a hammer. It is not our job to imagine new things; it is our job to remove the excess. And so, I navigate through it all, finally arriving at a memory of a beach from years ago. The night sky and us walking under the moon’s gentle glow, tracing the ever-changing curves of the sea that crept up to our feet and descended quickly, almost embarrassed, like an indecisive lover. I remember the walk, thinking if I could keep walking here forever, if by some magic this night does not end, I would not mind. I would be content. I would be happy with the life I had up until that point. In hindsight, it seems like youthful folly to have thought this; life has blossomed into such a joy. But all joy gets tedious sometimes, and you are left to reminisce.
Often when you meet someone, a good question is whether they prefer the mountains or the sea. When people ask me this, I tell them I prefer cities, that I am too fond of the crowds, people, and chaos, but if there were no cities, a beach would be it. Yet, the way I live, how my life has transpired up until now, and how it goes, in general, do not reflect this in earnest. As much as I adore the sea, it is the mountains where I always end up; the hills keep pulling me towards them. I can never seem to build a life where I end up on a beach. Perhaps, some esteemed speaker at a seminar could blame my agency for this turn of events, and I do not plan to dispute them. They are, of course, correct in their shallow and accurate analysis. It is this way because I have chosen, several times, against living near a beach in favour of the mountains. But if I were to make a defence, I would say our choices are painted by our circumstances and limited by the extent of possibility.
The timing, not the decisions in themselves, has prevented me from living near the beach. And so, I long to live a life where walking on the sand at night would be as tiring as staring at the hills feels now and then. For now, it remains a memory, and a dream.
This piece is part of the Soaring Twenties Social Club Symposium for October. The theme is Beach.