Today I sat on a beach in Florida. My yellow towel was my raft in a sea of pulsing, throbbing humanity, my little cotton perch from which I could see the people in front of me, beside me…actually all around me!
There were several large groups of college kids out on this upper 70’s perfect day! Young and gorgeous and alive with passion. How could I pass up such an opportunity to observe human life. So I stretched out with my book and sunscreen and observed.
At first glance, all anyone would see was a great mass of tan skin, tiny amounts of cotton & enough beer to fill a hot tub. The seemingly perfect party to be in the middle of. But I was not in the middle and from my view I saw a great deal more.
Everywhere I looked, I saw insecurities. I would look past one and my eyes would land on more. The girl in the XXL bathing suit, the girl in the tiny bikini, eyes looking around desperately for acceptance. The loud boy in the middle of the group and the sullen one on the outskirts, both craving, needing affirmation. The ones drifting off from the group in pairs, whispering to each other, seeking a safe place.The ones shouting and laughing too loud, loud enough to be noticed. The ones aloof as if they didn’t care, guarded, protected but watching from the distance. All making choices based on their desire for approval or fear of rejection.
Maybe I sound judgmental. Maybe I am. But I’m just telling you what I observed.
I also saw kids, little toddler size children digging in the watery sand. Laughing in pure simple delight, running up and down the beach, bathing suits climbing up, shorts falling down. Legs gritty with sand and arms streaked with suntan lotion. Completely oblivious to the opinions of those around them. So oblivious that one little girl almost ran into me. She simply smiled, dodged and went on her happy way.
My mental gaze flicked back and forth between the two images. Two visions of life. And I wondered who was really having more fun…..