If you have ever met or talked to me and asked me “what do you like to do in your free time?” I say surf. I love to surf. I may not be great, and I can’t do any cool tricks or anything like that, but surfing is my escape. When my mom told me we were going to live in Laguna Beach for a bit, I was over the moon. Since I was completely virtual in terms of school, I was able to do all my courses from the beach; I was, and still am, in heaven.
I was also in a time of really bad mental health; I had just lost an election that meant the world to me at the time. I am someone who likes to have my life planned out, and this definitely ruined my plans. Something that I worked a year and a half for was gone, and I was devastated. I stopped going to chapter meetings and isolated myself from the chapter completely. I am still coming to terms with the loss, go ahead and call me a sore loser, but it was hard. I was also dealing with boy drama (ew), which was so stupid. PSA: your love life does not define you. That took me a long time to learn. But then I had the other issues I was dealing with, so this move could not have come at a better time, to be honest.
Being on the beach and being able to just go out and surf, whenever I want, has actually improved my mental health. For example, in about 20-30 minutes, I will probably be heading out to the ocean because I have been working all day. It's a stressful time; school, BBYO work, and IC just ended, which I spent countless hours planning events for. That is my escape. There's also the fact that the simple change of a location can make you feel better, almost like you are on vacation. Now before you come after me, I am an hour drive from my house, I only go out to get food, and I wear a mask. So, this is a COVID-free zone.
I have definitely felt changes in my mental health. I have been happier most days, especially around the water. Going on walks in the dark by the ocean just feels right. The sunsets are just magnificent and beautiful, and I feel at home. It's not as busy as L.A, which I enjoy greatly. It's a breath of fresh air that I didn't know I needed. It is a place where I can climb onto my roof and look at the stars in silence and meditate. Yes, I meditated for the first time.
I went home for three days this week. It was really stressful for some reason. I felt like I had double the responsibilities, even though I have the same amount of work here, maybe even more. Just being back felt uncomfortable in many ways. It was like I had gotten so used to this life that being back home did not feel like my home. I couldn’t just suit up and run out to the ocean like there's no tomorrow. I looked out my window and there were trees instead of sand. I just felt sad, maybe even a bit depressed. I know I have to go back for good soon, I just am not ready yet.
Being in a new location has made me feel better, mentally and even physically. What I recommend is even just try doing your classes in a new spot; it feels cool; it feels nice. Maybe go to a park to do school, or to do your homework. Maybe don’t do a class in bed, or do a class in bed! Just do what makes you feel at home, and what gives you happiness. So, what have I learned from being away for two months? Well, I found my happy place, but I also learned a lot about myself and what gives me mental and physical joy, even though I will be going back soon.
Zoe Green is a BBG from Pacific Western Region and she loves playing drums.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
For the class of 2023, if you ever feel like giving up, remember to pause and take it all in.
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