The great British Summer fills me with such happy, nostalgic memories. Memorable long afternoons, spent playing in the sand. Always, with a t-shirt on. My parents insisted I always wear a t-shirt in the summer, due to my extremely pale Irish skin tone. Believe me, I burn. I was so carefree, content and comfortable in my surroundings. The smell of salt and vinegar would familiarise me, and excite me. There was nothing more exciting than the decision to have dinner at the beach, eaten with a little wooden fork. I would sit in my rubber dingy and eat my chips and scraps, and think this was the best day, ever.
The sea would mesmorise me, with it’s many waves and endless possibilities. The beach has always been my happy place. It so close to my home, and holds a special place in my heart. I have neglected my surroundings, probably over the last decade. Life has been fast. The serenity of the sea was not a usual recreational place to visit. I abandoned it. I abandoned it to spend my Summer in beer gardens, pubs, gin bars and usually bed. I wasted my days off hungover, fragile and fearful. Fearful over what I did, or said the night before. Fragile, because I had gone too far again. Drank too much. I chose to spend my Summer’s in places which provided alcohol, which would serve me a big dose of dopamine in a glass. A quick high, which never lasted long.
As I was walking on the beach this afternoon (gotta get those 10,000) on a nice sober day off from work, I took everything in, bit by bit. The glistening sand in the sunlight, the families playing games with one another, the dog walkers and people picnicking. It was a snapshot of a great British Summer. There were no pubs on the beach, it was desolate of drink. I looked around and families had juices, bottles of water and slushy drinks. As far as I could see, nobody was drinking. Yet, everyone was having fun. Endless fun. Children and their parents were laughing, running in and out of the sea. Grandparents were reading the paper, with their feet carefully nestled in the sand. It was fun. I had fun, and I felt free. Free of the grips of alcohol and addiction. I reflected on my feelings whilst walking, and realised this is the life I should have been living all along. I have got to thirty years old, and this is the decade where I am going to appreciate everything. After all, aren’t the best things in life, free?