I love everything about summer. I love warm weather, sitting in the sun, swimming in the ocean, grilling out, shopping for seasonal fruits and veggies at farmers markets, and being able to wear flip flops. I grew up in a small beach town in NJ. My summers consisted of long days at the beach. When I was old enough I would ride my bike to the beach, stay there for the whole day, come home and shower, and go back to hang out at the boardwalk at night. I even picked a career (teaching) where I knew I would have my summers free so I could be a complete beach bum. That's not exactly why I decided to be a teacher, of course, but it was a big plus!
However, one thing I never realized about summer when I was healthy is that it's a completely exhausting season! Since I've been sick, the number of beach days I enjoy each summer has definitely decreased. (and not just because I live further away, although that does play a part) First of all, there's a certain amount of beach stuff that needs to be carried-- cooler, chair, beach bag, and occasionally I'll bring an umbrella. If I'm going by myself to meet friends it's exhausting to carry all of those items. (When I go with my husband, he carries everything for me. Now if only he loved the beach as much as I do...) Keep in mind that it's hard to find parking close to the beach. I have to lug my stuff from my car to the boardwalk to buy a badge, and then walk all the way down to the perfect spot on the beach. I usually take a break in between. Also, walking on the sand is hard and tiring. Of course it doesn't help to have the sun beating down on me at the same time! Once I'm settled in my perfect spot, I can relax in my beach chair. I love sitting in the sun and going for a dip in the ocean. When I was healthy I could stay at the beach ALL DAY. By all day I mean, arrive at 10 am and leave at dinner time, around 5 or 6 pm. There is no way I could stay at the beach that long now. (Admitting this makes me so unbelievably sad!) Now I usually stay for a few hours because sitting in the sun seems to suck the energy out of me at a much quicker pace!
As much as I love the beach, these past few summers I've become more of a pool girl. My parents have a pool at their house. It's a short walk from their house to the pool. Plus I don't need to carry as much stuff. I just usually bring my beach bag filled with a towel, sunscreen, book, ipod, snack and a water. A much lighter load than my beach day necessities! The other benefit to the pool is it's easier to go for a short bit. When I drive 30 minutes to an hour to get to the beach, I don't want to just stay for an hour or two. However, if I'm staying at my parents I don't feel bad about just going over to the pool for an hour or two. A big plus is that the bathroom is close by and CLEAN! Beach bathrooms are the worst! The pool is definitely more convenient for me although in my heart I'm still a beach girl. There is something so relaxing about watching the ocean waves crash on the shore.
Of course, there are times when even going to the pool is tough. Earlier on this week, I was down at my parents to spend time with my brother, sister in law, niece and nephew who were visiting from IL. I just returned from my trip to Maine so I was not feeling good. I stretched my limits a little (actually, A LOT!) by making the trip because I don't get to see them often. Soon after I arrived on Monday, my mom and I took the kids, O and Ru, over to the pool. I quickly used up my energy by putting on sunblock, going in the pool, playing with the kids and just being in the sun. After an hour or two, we headed home for lunch. I just wanted to eat my salad and then crash. Of course, since I was in a wet bathing suit, I needed to shower off before I could fix my lunch. After showering, I went down to fix my lunch. After I ate I realized it was only 2 and I was ready for bed. My nephew was asking who wanted to go back to the pool after lunch. Normally, a much more energetic, healthier me, would have said, Hell yeah! Okay maybe to my nephew I'd just say, Heck yeah! But I needed to rest. So I said I couldn't go.
I definitely struggle with accepting my health issues during the summer. I hate that I can't be out as much as I'd like to be. I don't feel bad about resting on the couch when it's a chilly day in January, but when it's a sunny, 80 degree day in July... I just want to be outside!