A Practice in Perspective

I spent this past weekend visiting friends in beautiful Malibu, California. If you didn't know it already, this place is actual paradise: the location where palm trees and misty ocean breezes meet the rugged hillsides of the natural California landscape. In essence, it is a fusion of my personal terrain preferences, with a few compromises (I prefer mountainous adventures, and while Malibu certainly sports some elevation changes, I'm all about the climb to the top of a mountain). Needless to say, my weekend was amazing. My close friend and former roommate, Jenny, and I spent our five days together exploring LA, Malibu, and Santa Monica, learning some crucial lessons along the way.

I will not say that this was the perfect trip (is there really any such thing?). We definitely ran into more than our fair share of disappointments and challenges. I can't necessarily say I've grown because of them, but I can say that I am approaching a place of acceptance when it comes to the unexpected disappointments characteristic of life.

For example, Jenny and I got into some trouble with parking. Over the course of two days, we somehow managed to accrue $125 in parking tickets. I will take the blame for all the money we owe, because I was the one who inadvertently didn't notice that disclaimer on the bottom of the parking sign that a parking permit was required to park on that side street in Beverly Hills. I was also the one who suggested we park illegally by the beach in Malibu, because doesn't everyone park illegally there? True, I may owe the state of California a good $62.50 (which I am not happy about), but I realize there are worse things than having to pay a parking ticket. Or two.

Another perfect-day-gone-awry moment happened Sunday when I was running on the beach. I hadn't worked out in a few days, so I decided a run down to and on the beach was suiting for my Malibu vacation. The last time I'd run this course was during my freshman year (how was that four years ago?). Incidentally, my friend, Winston, and I had taken our shoes off and placed them in a drainage pipe that led from the road to the beach, thinking our shoes would be safe and sound in the dark hiding place. They weren't. When we returned, our shoes were gone, and we had no way to get back to campus without walking barefoot up the rocky bluffs. Thankfully Winston had brought his phone, and was able to call a friend to pick us up. Though my shoes had been stolen, I was admittedly more upset that someone had stolen my arch supports (yes, I am an old lady) since I rely on those to prevent any back pain.

Wanting to avoid the shoe thievery this time around, I kept my shoes on throughout my run. Unfortunately for the shoes, I had picked the wrong time to run on the beach: high tide. They soon became waterlogged and filled with sand, and I am not quite sure if they will survive (then again, it was about time for me to buy new ones anyway). Not wanting to reencounter the bad luck I'd had as a freshman, I dredged along the beach with my disgustingly heavy and scratchy shoes until I literally could not pass and had to take the road to the entrance of the public beach, commonly known as Ralph's Beach (note: if you're visiting Malibu, this is not the beach to visit). Once surrounded by people who had also left their stuff lying around, I took off my shoes, hid them behind a couple logs (just in case), then took my arch supports out and carried them with me as I continued to run the remaining stretch of beach. In all, I ran more than I'd run in the past few years (I'm not a runner, so this was a great feat for me).

Now, Jenny had been at Mass, and was scheduled to pick me up around quarter after noon, so after splashing around in the swimmable ocean for a while, I decided to check my phone to let Jenny know I'd be out in the water when she arrived, so just holler for me. Stupidly, I stepped between the two logs and onto a shard of broken glass. Alas! My perfect day had been splintered by some idiots who had decided not only to drink on the beach, but also to break their bottles on the beach.

Usually, I would have been enraged by my circumstances, and even with myself for stupidly stepping between those logs (everyone knows those logs are bad news!). For some reason, I wasn't. I kept my cool, let Jenny know it would best to pick me up sooner rather than later, and waited patiently for her arrival. I knew I would inevitably have to clean the sand out of the cut and deal with the gore (I am by no means comfortable with blood or injuries; thus why I have never had any desire to pursue any kind of medical career, and generally avoid hospital/doctor visits). I just prayed stitches wouldn't be necessary. I can't deal with needles. But for some reason, I was able to keep my composure and coax out the unruly grains of sand embedded deep within the wound throughout the day (thank goodness for hydrogen peroxide!).

Sure, my walking is greatly hindered (it might be time to forego the shoes for a week or so) and extremely painful, but in the midst of the desire for this not to have happened, I have been able to find delight in my situations nevertheless. I'm in Malibu, for crying out loud. And I was able to spend an amazing weekend with so many of my incredible friends. So when it comes down to it, I really can't be too bothered that I owe L.A. county a pocketful of cash and will be that one girl hobbling down the streets of Santa Monica later this afternoon. After all, life is what we make it, and I'm actively choosing to seek the best in the moments I have with my dear friends even when my circumstances might be the furthest thing from ideal.