Boating, Books and Beaches

Finding Joy in Relaxed Restrictions 

Is there any better feeling than having something to look forward to? Whether it’s a planned vacation, an upcoming event, or a visit with loved ones you don’t see often, the joy of counting down the days can be just as fulfilling as the reward at the end. 

The best anticipation for me has always come from booking a trip to a warm place during those dreary, late-winter months. February feels much more tolerable when there’s a ticket to South Florida, sunblock and a swimsuit waiting at the end. To get the full effect, I like to have the trip on the calendar at least a couple of months ahead of time. What fun is a spontaneous getaway when you haven’t had time to get excited about it? 

Now that I have young children, we count down to special dates together on a small chalkboard. 23 days until Grandma comes to visit. 11 days until baby brother’s birthday. 57 days until we fly on an airplane! 

One of the big psychological bummers of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the loss of events to look forward to. Every time I look down at my Apple Watch, which automatically displays upcoming events from my calendar, it reads, “No more events. Your day is clear.” For several weeks, I refused to let my mind wander to what might become of our summer beach trip, my son’s school year (or next school year) and when we might see my in-laws from the Midwest again. 

But the tide is beginning to turn, one small step at a time. After restrictions tightened down to the point of “stay home whenever possible,” we’re finally at the point where state and local leaders are starting to relax a small number of those restrictions—keeping health precautions in place, of course. And we can celebrate each one of our new opportunities, big and small. 

Bay Weekly just got word that some public libraries will be offering book borrowing in the next couple of weeks. The reading material in my house has gotten so tired, I feel giddy about the thought of fresh books. My favorite small farmer’s market, a family Saturday morning ritual, is up and running again.  

Recreational boating and fishing are now allowed, after a historic 37-day ban. CBM Bay Bulletin spoke to boaters readying their vessels bright and early the morning the ban was lifted. The governor’s decision to allow golf, tennis and camping to resume has undoubtedly brought joy to people who have missed those pastimes. And Ocean City reopening its beach and boardwalk brightened many a Mother’s Day weekend.  

In fact, my family’s annual summer trip “down the Ocean” is looking a lot more possible and a lot less like a pipe dream. Dare we start a chalkboard countdown? 

Sure, there’s still an awful lot we aren’t allowed to do, but we now have things to look forward to. These days, it doesn’t take a plane trip with palm trees to get me excited. I’ll be joyfully anticipating my next chance to check out new books from the library.