October 23, 2003

By Michael Strickland


Killing time between my two work shifts today, I drove into my old hometown, the sleepy beach town of Del Mar. As I write this, I sit in my car outside Roberto's, Del Mar's classic Mexican take-out restaurant. Across the street, wisps of fog float over Penasquitos Lagoon. In the distance, vehicles cruise across the causeway between the lagoon and the ocean. A few blocks above me, the road slopes up to the edge of Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Finding myself in this spot with the luxury of an unhurried break between jobs, I can't help but meditate upon self-reflective thoughts. I spent countless days in long-forgotten summers crawling across the sandstone bluffs of Torrey Pines, canoeing through the now-verboten waters of Penasquitos Lagoon, bodysurfing the waves off Torrey Pines State Beach. How can one sit and reflect upon carefree youth as a careworn 37-year-old and not feel regret for times long past? As an adult, my days are filled with worry about debt, stress from work and bitterness over the state of our society and the world at large. I look back on my youth and find it nearly impossible to put myself in the mindset of that idyllic time in my life. I can no more imagine living without a care in the world than I can empathize with the mind of a serial killer.

Such regret and nostalgia is, of course, normal. We all have to grow up—and in the "real world," growing up means assuming adult responsibilities, with which come adult duties and concerns. But in times of depression, it's easy to look back and long for such days. It's seductive to yearn for a life without worldly concerns, to wish for the ability to shrug off one's responsibilities and run barefoot through the surf again. In my life experience, at least, it seems such longing only increases with age. Perhaps it's just part of getting older. Or perhaps it's just me.

I'm off to Baja again, this time to the hot springs of Guadalupe Canyon. The Daily Strick will return on Sunday, October 26.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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October Columns:

10/31: Halloween's History
10/30: Good GDP, Still No Jobs
10/29: Disaster
10/27: Ash Monday
10/26: En Fuego
10/25: Diving in the Desert
10/24: Dead Car Canyon
10/23: Reflections
10/21: Le Métro
10/20: Pain
10/17: Jury Duty
10/15: Labor Pains
10/14: The Business of Losing
10/13: Owls and Jobs
10/12: Hooked
10/11: The "S" in SUV
10/9: Flee the City
10/8: Sore Losers
10/5: Turkeys
10/4: It's Not the Economy, Stupid
10/2: Focus
10/1: Twenty Years
Previous months in The Archive

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