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Create an impression worth looking back on

mindset Aug 05, 2020

A few weeks we took a vacation to the beach for the week of 4th of July. I don’t know about you, but when the 4th falls on a weekend, I feel like we get jipped out of a holiday or downtime from the “the grind.” It was amazing to spend a week with our besties, too. Although I worked every day, it was a different kind of work. New environment, which was awesome since I have been working out of my home office for over 4 months courtesy of Co-vid.

Every day we explored, biked, beached, and boy, did we eat! There is something special about saltwater, sand, and Vitamin-Sea (and Vitamin-D) that soothes the soul. One of my favorite memories we made was walking down the beach after high tide was rolling out and the sand was fresh. I spent most of my years in Southwest Florida, where the sand is VERY different than on the Altlantic. On the gulf side of Florida, Sarasota area has the most amazing fluffy, powdery white sand you have ever seen. When you step in that sand, your feet sink in several inches with every step. It’s truly a great workout! It doesn’t burn your feet in the heat of the day and isn’t rough either. It’s very different from the sands we walked on during this last week. I appreciated the differences.

As we walked along, enjoying the company, drink in hand and the setting sun, I found my gaze on the sand. It was nearly fresh from the tides pulling back and it was mostly flat, damp and solid. There was a family that had taken these steps just minutes before us that I could see in the distance several hundred yards up the beach. As I looked at their footprint impressions, I tried to follow the same imprint, having my foot match their remnants.

As I tried to match the smaller footprint, I realized she had a much more petite foot than I had, and also a smaller gait. It was actually awkward for me to try to take smaller steps to match those in front of me. So took a step to the right, and started to follow the prints left by the other person. His footprints were much larger than my foot (big task, my feet are ginormous!) and his gait was one I could barely keep up with. It was a little exhausting – yes I know, you don’t have to say it, I am truly out of shape – trying to maintain the distance between his steps. I can only guess he slows down his pace and she speeds up hers to stay in sync.

I don’t know why I was stepping in their footprints. Maybe just to see what it felt like. Maybe just to try something different than my unconscious default. But I just knew it didn’t feel natural and didn’t fit me. When I moved again to the right, the sand was untouched. Waiting for me to create my own tracks and walk at my own gait. When I took those first steps as I actually paid attention to my actions, I could feel the crunchiness under my toes of that untouched sand. It was different from what I had known in my past. Not better, not worse, just different.

Have you experienced that recently? Not bad, just different? A little crunchiness, not powdery, but something tells you that it’s YOU blazing your own path, creating your own prints behind you. I want to encourage you to step to the right. Take steps that are not of someone else’s. There are no “shoes to fill” and no one to have to copy, because if you are just trying to be another version of someone else, I realized, it doesn’t feel natural or even easy.

I wondered if anyone behind us tried to step on any of our footprints and if they also felt it didn’t suit them perfectly. And that they also stepped over to the right and created a path of their own. I never really thought about who’s footprints I tried to emulate in the past. And in trying to fill their footprints, did I then miss out on creating my own? Making my own imprint on the world so to speak.

Eventually the tide rolls in and wipes it all away anyway. So I will feel the crunch rather than the smooth surface under my feet to create my path. And I will not take smaller steps that don’t keep my pace and I won’t take bigger steps than I can comfortably keep up with.

I paused for a moment and looked back at our paths we were creating, myself, my hubby and our friends. And I could see in the aftermath the moments we enjoyed. Where we stopped and huddled to check out a shell. When a big wave came in and we all moved up shore to keep dry. Where we ran from crabs and when we stopped for a sunset-filled selfie. It was awesome to see our moments, captured in the sand and in my mind.

Take your steps in the crunchiness and don’t seek out the smoothness. If it’s your path to create, create it as only you can. And I will look for your imprints that you create and smile as we look at the special finds, the obstacles you avoided and the crabs you ran from!


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