Rewind 35 years.
As a child, I dreamt of faraway places and tropical destinations.
I yearned to see flora and fauna from a different hemisphere-
to read in the shade of the palms,
to frolic on the water’s edge,
to experience the bright, vibrant colors of nature.
I daydreamed about turquoise shorelines, gentle waves lapping on white sand beaches, palm trees that leaned over shallow waters, coconuts, mermaids, and conch shells…
When I envisioned these far-off places, my mind was instantly peaceful and serene, yet joyful, and excited.
During the summer between grades 5 and 6, I discovered the “lagoon.”
It was the summer in the 1980s and I was ecstatic because one of my favorite cousins was visiting!
We stayed at our grandparent’s property, situated on a small peninsula in a secluded lake area of the province.
One hot and sunny day my cousins, sisters, and I walked to the nearby beach, which was often deserted- and that day was no exception.
The air was thick and humid, and cicadas buzzed in the ditches and brush as we walked down the still gravel road.
The beach was small and sandy. It had a grassy picnic area, lots of shady trees, and clean, cool water.
We were having the best afternoon swimming, playing chicken, pretending to be mermaids, burying each other in the sand, and talking and laughing the day away.
Normally, we weren’t curious about exploring further up the beach, as we could see the entire expanse of the shore when we were in the water.
It was a long, bushy, dense shoreline with trees and shrubs that closely hugged the water, and there appeared to be few opportunities to explore even if we wanted to.
But for some reason that day, I decided to walk around a large cluster of reeds to see what the beach was like a bit further up the shore.
I knew it wouldn’t be as nice as the sparse, sandy section that made up “our beach” but I was in an adventurous state of mind!
And as I walked around the large patch of reeds I gasped.
There before me was the lagoon.
The breathtaking, beautiful lagoon I envisioned only in my dreams.
It was a tiny, white, sandy section that couldn’t be seen from the angle where we swam, due to the small cluster of brush that sprung from the banks and shielded it from one side.
The leaves of that brush merged with the reeds at the shore and together, they hid the sandy section from where we had been swimming for years.
Low, willowy trees hung over the sand like palm trees reaching out to the sea, hiding it further.
And the water that lapped up to the sand, under the shade of the “palm” trees, had the sweetest hint of blue-green jewels in it.
I was in awe.
I walked softly to the hidden sandy area and had to bend slightly to get under the canopy. I sat on the sand and looked out at the sun-kissed water.
I could have been anywhere in the world.
I was young, but I was overcome with joy- joy, peace, serenity, gladness, gratitude, and hope.
At that moment I felt, rather than saw, the possibilities of the future- and it was great!
After a few minutes, my heart was so filled, that I wanted to share it.
So, I jumped up, ran back around the green weeds and brown reeds, and brought over my cousin and sisters. And as I introduced it to them, I called it “Lisa’s Lagoon.”
They loved it too!
The rest of the day was filled with the craziest, funniest imaginings- in true childhood beach fashion, and when we spoke of it afterward, we all knew “the lagoon” was ours together- our hideaway, our oasis, our special place.
Fast forward 35 years.
35 years of trials, tribulations, mistakes, learning curves, challenges, and life lessons– with some good stuff.
But life in general: hectic, stressful, wearing- with some good times.
My outlook was cynical and pessimistic. I was stunted- physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I was slightly burnt out and always tired.
The dreams of my childhood were snatched away by the realities of life, compounded over years.
I was so caught up in the day-to-day-
- the household administration, finances, and upkeep
- the kids- from school to extracurriculars to every type of appointment to differing daily needs
- family, friends, and various other relationships,
- work- the worries, the stress, the mental exhaustion, the toxic environments
- depressing news stories and events,
- cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning- with equal amounts of cooking…
that as each year went by, my health, dreams, visions, self-esteem, and courage all slowly diminished. I was removed from the childhood version of myself and shackled by life’s stressors.
as I went to bed each night, one particular week, I began to think of my childhood: a lot.
I thought about the optimism of youth: the hope for the future, the endless possibilities- that absolute sense of freedom that sends us soaring. And how that goes missing from our lives.
And slowly, I remembered…
I hadn’t thought about it for decades, but it hit me like a shock of cold water.
And with it those feelings of joy, freedom, possibility, gratitude, and sharing!
I felt an old excitement surge from within and after a few days of pondering old memories, I knew it was time to embrace the lagoon mentality, time to harness my inner child-
Time to hit the RESET button.
So here I am.
I know now that the lagoon is not simply a physical place, it’s figurative, ethereal.
It’s indicative of everything as a child, I both embodied and envisioned, and lost-
- fun times, adventure, and bliss,
- vibrant, colorful, relaxing,
- a spirit of change and exploration,
- energy and vitality
- future possibilities
- physical and mental health– running, swimming, laughing, imagining!
It was now time to infuse my life with the essence of the lagoon and everything it symbolized.
It was also something to be shared, and in revisiting the lagoon as a mature woman, I realized that we all have those remnants of the past, those long-ago selves, or dreams and visions just as real and spirited, of the future!
WHY NOT resurrect and materialize the best of them as we move forward?
-Why not move forward in a mindful, healthy, joy-filled way? In all the aspects that make up our everyday-
Well, we can. And we can do it together.
The lagoon led me here, it is resurrecting my health, and my mind, and is spurring to action dreams I’ve ignored for the past decade.
It’s giving me the courage to create something I can be proud of.
And together, we can be the best versions of ourselves, especially as we reach these mature stages of our lives. It’s never too late.
The lagoon is a place to stop by and replenish, to take some time for us, to read and be inspired, to reflect, and laugh.
So, let’s do it! Let’s have fun, let’s dream, let’s learn, let’s be healthier, and let’s embrace change.
If anything resonated with you in my story, or you have some topics you’d like to read about as we head into our 40s and beyond, drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you- Thanks for Reading!