A Fresh Start

Article Contributed by Amy Sargent

I’m always amazed how at the end of the year so many with disheartened hearts post about how ready they are for the coming year. Something about the end of December gives us renewed hope in the reset button which, with the dropping of the shiny ball in NYC, will assure us of a fresh start for the year ahead.

As I strolled along the sunny California seashore over the holidays, I realized that I too needed a fresh start. The last few months of this year I felt as if I was swimming, frantically, just to keep my head above water in churning, turbulent ocean, and by mid-December, caught a wave that dumped me into the sand like a discarded, broken shell. There I lay, exhausted and discouraged, on a lonely beach, thinking someone, something would scoop me up as their prized treasure, with the same delight a beachcomber has when he eagerly retrieves that perfect shell half-buried in the sand. Instead, I felt as though the sea had disappeared and in its place a hot, dry desert, barren of the refreshing waters of life I so enjoy, spitefully appeared. And ever since I have been wandering. My mouth is dry and my feet are burning and I am tired. Tired, of walking, walking, walking and getting nowhere, not finding that oasis I so long for. And I know many of you are feeling the same.

What I noticed at the beach this week is that at the end each day, as the sun sinks low on the horizon, the used-up, trampled-upon sand is littered with imprints of all shapes and sizes: bare feet footprints and dog footprints and shoe footprints, a stripe from a beach chair leg being dragged along, a flattened swath where a beach towel lay. Seaweed strewn across water-logged driftwood with a million bugs swarming the dark green mass. A forgotten plastic shovel and an abandoned sandal. A seagull pecking at a dead, rotting fish. Discarded sand castles, their towering walls dismantled and washed away by the relentless waves. And broken shells. Lots of them. It’s a summary of the day’s happenings, the highs and lows, the ups and downs, the wins and losses. Each of us has a colorful backstory and I reflected upon how we spend most of our life trying to hide it from others, some of us doing a rather good job in the facade. But the beach tells all. You can’t take a step there without leaving a trail.

We got up early the next morning and strolled alongside the gentle surf. The sun was new and bright as its clear light cast its first rays across the sparkling waters. And the beach! I was awed by the transformation that had taken place in the night. The once-littered sand was washed smooth by the powerful waves of the high tide. Yesterday was gone. As far as I could see, a clean slate lay before me, eagerly awaiting today’s adventures to leave their mark. I felt alive and giddy and full of hope and wonder for what the new day would bring. I found a tiny perfect sand dollar in the sand.

It’s beautiful how the beach gets a redo each morning. A fresh start.

A few days later, we arrived back home after a long, tiring car ride. The kids left to go to their dad’s, and as I sat here alone in my little apartment, I again felt the dark tug of this year’s disappointments, disillusionment and discouragement grasping at my sun-kissed heart, wanting to pull me back down into the dark waters. Something about it was familiar, and I realized how easy it would be to slip right back. For some reason it is easy to hang on to our hurts, and return to that familiar place of pain, even though it’s so far from the brightness of where we really want to be.

But I don’t want to go back there. I can’t. I refuse to look at last year’s beach littered with disappointments, discarded dreams, and discouragement another moment. Let’s resolve, together, to let the night’s waves work their magic and gift us with a clean canvas, eagerly awaiting our first strokes of paint. Let’s let the past be past and look ahead with anticipation and hope and wonder. Let’s revel in the beauty of the unknown that each new day holds and not get caught up in the fear of what may be. Let’s start walking, boldly, letting our tender feet feel the inviting warmth of the soft white sand spread before us, and let the adventure of a new year unfold. I’m stepping forward. And I hope to see your footprints in the sand next to mine.

May your 2018 be rewarding and joy-filled. Happy New Year!

5 Responses to “A Fresh Start”

  • Debbie:

    My Grandmother use to always say that we tend to focus more on the negative things instead of
    counting our blessings each day. I do my best to look past the negative and try to see the good in people
    and things as well as being aware of my blessings.. I am amazed how blessed I am each day and I am so
    grateful for this awareness and grace. It’s impossible to be truly grateful and lost at the same time. Because when we realize that we never walk alone, it becomes a new ball game. I had a wonderful 2017 with all my
    joys, adventures, hurts and disappointments. I look forward to another wonderful year ahead. And I hope this information will help you to have a beautiful life in 2018. All the best!

  • Medgine:

    My reflections exactly, so magnificently stated. “But I don’t want to go back there. I can’t. I refuse…” That is what keeps me moving forward. Thank you for reiterating my souls relentless call forward to me again. “As you shine your light you unconsciously give me permission to do the same…” (Marianne Williamson) – and I will. I find that engaging in my life purpose liberated me from the illusion of pain and suffering. Again, Thank You so much for this beautiful expression. 🙏

  • Lovely text, Amy. Thank you!!

    For some reasons I felt the same you felt observing the beach. But I promised to myself that 2018 will be my year: I will take better care of myself, I will keep going ahead without looking behind and I will make this year the best year of my life.

    I wish you also have a 2018 filled with success and happiness. Cheers!!!

  • Amy,

    I hear you! Thank you for your article. Sorry that 2017 was tough for you. I’m sure many of us can relate to those feelings at some time in our lives.

    All the best to you in 2018!! Keep the faith.


  • This is so beautifully written Amy. Thank you for sharing. It’s realism, honesty (though a twinge sad at times)…is so necessary for renew and healing to take place. In this time of fake news,alternative facts,bullying, hatred, anti everything…your written visuals capture what we need to realize…every day is a new day filled with hope, wonder, amazement and a stray sandal or two!
    Happy New Year and thank you!