Fifteen days into the New Year -- at the dawn of which I announced on The Home Stretch I was renouncing living in the past/fearing the future -- I am Googling "beach withdrawal" in hopes of a quick and easy antidote for severe ocean yearning.
Yes, after three short months living and working in warm, sunny Myrtle Beach, SC, adjusting to life back in frigid, frozen Iowa has been a challenge to say the least.
I've suffered relationship breakups that were less painful.
Sure, it was all fun and games taking 1,800 pictures of the Atlantic Ocean's rolling waves, gorgeous Myrtle Beach sunrises and heart-melting sunsets...and posting what must have seemed like (to my friends back in Iowa) all 1,800 of them on Facebook while I was actually living in Myrtle Beach. But now that I am no longer chillin' at the beach, and I once again live several states away in bone-chilling temps, looking at said pictures is like poring over snapshots of a lover you adore but whom you fear you will never see again.
In a word: agonizing.
You know that popular saying, "Don't cry that it's over, smile that it happened"?
Easier said than done.
Obviously, whoever penned that doozie of a philosophical bent never had to leave the ocean to return to a landlocked state.
As my good buddy and former seaside resident Christopher Ludy (now living back in Ohio) advised me before I returned to Iowa: "You will claw your face off the minute your plane lands and you step back into the cold, kicking yourself, screaming, 'WHAT THE HELL HAVE I DONE?'"
Well, my return to The Tall Corn State wasn't that dramatic, but I will confess to repeatedly running my fingers through the large Baggie of sand I brought back with me, and carefully caressing each of my gazillion collected seashells before gently arranging said sand and shells in a jar that I now keep in the living room on a shelf. I sneak longing, soulful stares at the sacred jar when the fam isn't looking.
I now know how Cinderella felt after leaving the magical royal ball at the stroke of midnight and morphing back into her less-than-Glamor Shot self...only my glass slippers were pink flip flops, my ballgown a bathing suit (or that comfy pair of faded blue jean capris I constantly borrowed from my dear friend/roomie Mary).
Seemingly in the blink of an eye, as my plane touched down on the chilly Des Moines International Airport tarmac, my South Carolina tan faded and my hair color changed from vivacious, sun-kissed beachy blonde back to tired, mousy-brown blech. My joints once again began to ache, my elbows simultaneously sprouting dry, itchy scales.
Truth be told, however, I think I may be on the slow road to beach withdrawal recovery.
On my way to work the other day, I actually felt compelled to snap a picture of an Iowa sunrise. It was pretty. And I posted it on Facebook.
Only 1,799 Iowa sunrise photographs to go.
One day at a time, Cinderella, er, Cindy. One day at a time...