I have never considered myself much of a beach person. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest I was blessed with a range of wilderness options for my adventures. Although I was able to choose between seashores and snow-capped peaks, I was always drawn to the mountains first and foremost.
I have enjoyed plenty of ocean beach experiences. I flew kites on the sandy beaches of Twin Harbors, Ocean Shores and Long Beach (Washington). I explored Pacific Coast shores from Cape Alava to Point Reyes. I fished and foraged for mollusks from Hood Canal to Cape Flattery. Nonetheless, my heart always belonged to the rocky crags and towering peaks. Unless I was scouting for a secluded cove to call my private paradise for a couple of days, beaches were merely places to go and sit.
Getting a good tan was never in the cards for me. My Nordic ancestors endowed me with a pasty whiteness that was never meant to withstand prolonged exposure to solar radiation. Even with a 30-plus SPF sunscreen, I can quickly turn into a crispy critter if I do not wear long sleeves and pants. Not only did I run the risk of sunburn, but I also found plopping on a beach to be boring.
I am older now. After many years of employment, I can recall countless times when I would have given a lot to be bored. Maybe that is why I feel so ideally suited to being retired. I have learned to not only accept boredom, but also to embrace it.
And now here I am in Torrevieja, Spain. Typically, if I spot a young people here, they are either working in a service sector job or they are in town to visit their grandparents. So what do all the old people do here on the Costa Blanca, or the Costa Brava or the Costa del Sol? You guessed it – they go to the beach! Many of these jubilados (pensioners) have incredible tans. Some take an occasional swim in the warm, clear Mediterranean waters. A few, like me and Florence, bring a book to read. Some folks take a nap.
We recently invested $15 in a beach umbrella. In order to maximize our ROI (return on investment), and given the luxury of free time, we now join the daily migration from apartment dwellings to the sandy beach just 500 feet from our door. Like practiced pensioners, we pack drinks and sandwiches and take a book and some puzzles to work on. We are now ‘beach people.’ And thanks to the umbrella, I can safely sit in the shade and not risk too much exposure to the sun. Does that sound boring? Maybe it is. But as I have often been known to say, boredom is greatly underappreciated.