When You're Finally At Peace, That's All You Need

When You're Finally At Peace, That's All You Need

I remember the sound of the roaring waves crashing against the shoreline.
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It was a beautiful summer evening, and the end of June was approaching. I found myself walking along the shore of South Carolina on a beach that was nearly empty, likely due to the fact that it was almost midnight. It had been exactly one year since I had been here. I was fresh out of high school, enjoying the summer between my senior year and my freshman year of college.

I remember it seemed as though everything was moving by so quickly - too quickly. There was a vague sense of apprehension, as well as a wild fear of the unknown as I began to count down the weeks until my first quarter began. I knew nothing of what would be coming my way as I finally ventured off into the real world, ready to engage in a full sense of independence and begin living my own life.

Throughout this process that seemed to drag on for an eternity, I noticed that I was seldom at peace. I was constantly out enjoying myself, trying to make the most of the time I had left before everything would change. Even in the moments where I was the happiest, the thought of this new lifestyle would often creep into the back of my mind and dissolve it. Looking back on things from my present point of view, I would never have expected to be as pleased with the outcome of my situation as I am.

I wish, in a sense, that I could go back to this day, to this location, and tell myself that things were going to fall into place.

I could not sleep, so I had hoped that a stroll through the sand would relax me. I remember the sound of the roaring waves crashing against the shoreline, with the faint smell of a bonfire wafting through the air. I also remember how much I had wanted to be alone in that moment, and for the first time in what seemed to be the longest of times, I was alone. I was completely alone with my thoughts.

I walked down this beach for what felt like miles. I lost track of time as I focused on the sound of the waves, losing myself in every collision. All that I do know is that this was the moment where I found what I had been longing for. I stood in that ocean, watching the glare of the moon shine down upon it, and I did nothing but think. I let every fear and inhibition race through my mind as I gazed out into that vast body of water, letting its beauty overtake me through every worry or concern.

There was something so utterly calming and peaceful about this experience that I could never describe it to the fullest extent.

It was then that I backed away from that magnificent ocean, taking a glance back, and I began to walk away.

Ahead in the distance were a cluster of rocks, and I soon found myself climbing atop them, positioning myself so that I was once again facing the water. I placed my bag down next to me, and I whipped out my notebook, writing down everything that I saw, everything that I felt, everything that I was experiencing.

It was on this empty beach in South Carolina that I gained a sense of the inner-peace that I had so desperately been seeking. I had the slightest idea of what my future held, or the obstacles could have potentially crossed my path. Yet, in that moment, it did not matter. Nothing mattered. For I was finally at peace, and that was all that I needed.

I wish, in a sense, that I could go back to this day, to this location, and tell myself that things were going to fall into place.

Cover Image Credit: Glen Jackson

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.
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You won’t see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won’t laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won’t go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They’ll miss you. They’ll cry.

You won’t fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won’t get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won’t be there to wipe away your mother’s tears when she finds out that you’re gone.

You won’t be able to hug the ones that love you while they’re waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won’t be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won’t find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won’t celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won’t turn another year older.

You will never see the places you’ve always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You’ll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it’s not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don’t let today be the end.

You don’t have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It’s not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I’m sure you’re no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won’t do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you’ll be fine.” Because when they aren’t, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

For help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Yet Found Herself, Keep Looking

You will eventually find her in all the right places, I promise.

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They say you are supposed to go through your awkward transition phase during middle school, but you still feel like you haven't quite figured it out. They say you are supposed to join a club in order to "find yourself", but then you end up sitting in the back watching everyone laugh and catch up. You feel out of place--like you're existing somewhere you just don't belong. Let me be the voice telling you that you are exactly where you are meant to be right now. Every decision you've ever made has led you to this place. This is, of course, much harder to grasp than to just say. Really though, you're doing just fine!

Finding out the things you don't like to do are just important as discovering your passions when it comes to finding your true self. Don't be afraid to join that club, talk to the girl next to you in class, and explore your interests. You might hate it. You might want to run away, but at least you're learning about yourself and where your comfort zone lies. Finding yourself is a life long process, so don't expect an Aha! moment where you have finally hit your destination. Think of it more as a sense of confidence of comfortability in who you are and what you stand for.

Stepping away from friends and family for some time may also lead you to who you are. Often, we grow up and mature only to have the same beliefs, morals, and political opinions as our parents. It's not our fault and we aren't childish, we just trust our parent's judgment and see their conscience as nothing but truth. Part of gaining independence is questioning your own biased beliefs and reevaluating them so they reflect your character better. Same goes with friends. Try to spend a Friday night in with yourself. See what you do. Do you watch a movie? Do you catch up on homework? Do you paint your nails? What is it that makes you feel happy when nobody else is around? By considering the answer to this question, you're one step closer to figuring this whole life thing out.

You may also want to try stepping away from your phone. Your social media (this shouldn't come as a surprise) is giving you the false idea that everyone around you knows exactly what they're doing and enjoys doing it all. Not true. So not true actually, everyone else is struggling to find out just who they are. You and your phone need some distance.

Finding yourself doesn't just happen. You need to explore the world around you and you'll eventually find out where your place is. Be patient with the process and know the right steps will surface when you're ready to take them. Be kind to yourself and have the bravery to discover the girl inside you (I hear she's really cool).

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