We currently live less than a kilometer from a beautiful beach in Bucerias, Mexico. A half an hour away from Puerto Vallarta, where Stella was born. If you don’t live within a quick walk of a beach, the idea of not going to it regularly probably seems horrifying – especially if you just went through the sort of winter my facebook feed tells me is still sort of happening.  I am ashamed to admit to an embarrassingly long spell of beach-less days, starting last summer when it was so swelteringly hot during the days, and we couldn’t figure our a routine as a family that would get us to the beach around sunset.

We’ve been out a couple of times this winter, but it wasn’t until friends of ours, a family of five, came to stay with us recently, that we made the effort to go out at least a few times per week. We weren’t trying to show off, merely following suit, while also doing our duty as hosts to show them around the different beaches, from PV to San Pancho.

One day early on, the mom reflected on the day, honestly stating “It was a productive day, we made it to the beach.”

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She meant it. This did not compute. Some part of my brain did a hard reboot to attempt to understand this new perspective.

The family just celebrated their third anniversary of traveling the world, and are models for traveling on a budget. Christine has been inspired by their methods and attitude, and the children have grown in leaps and bounds by having three older children around as daily playmates. Cole decided to climb a large rock formation entirely on his own, toppling the previous “king of the mountain” who had been strutting at the top of it for a good fifteen minutes before Cole conquered the hill.

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My lesson has been the beach, and the idea that a good day on the beach is at least as productive as this post I am writing right now. It’s taken several trips to really feel like this is a true thing, but yesterday’s trip to Sayulita was where I fully bought in.

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Christine stayed behind to get some writing done, basically having the whole house to herself, which was great for her. My typical method for making her feel at-ease is to downplay that it was fun at all, as if enjoying that time is somehow rubbing it in.

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I’ve done this so many times now, I think I’ve convinced myself to self-sabotage my enjoyment of things in advance, not allowing myself to breathe and relax. At nearly 38 years old, I’m finally understanding that by not enjoying these moments, NO ONE IN THE FAMILY GETS TO ENJOY ANYTHING. Someone really needs to enjoy these moments, or really, what is the point?

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Last night though, I came home from the outing bearing shrimp tacos, churros and half of Cole’s quesedilla from dinner. When she asked how it went, I said “Fantastic!”

And I meant it.

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