Well, the hurricane that is the Belmont Shore July 4th celebration has come and gone, leaving in its wake garbage strewn beaches, beer (I think??) covered sidewalks, and thousands of hung over "adults". Also working its way through the wheels and wheels of my mind is the strong temptation to decry such juvenile behavior and pen some angry letter to the editor...which then is followed by a subsequent feeling of despondency that "decrying such juvenile behavior" is something that "old people" do...which means that I too am now "old", and that celebrating July 4th is a young person’s game.
This uncomfortable feeling has been building over the last few years as I have ventured into my 40's, and has no doubt been helped along by my move to the Shore. A stroll through our neighborhood reveals that it is quite possible to come across at least 5-7 raging July 4th parties on every block, overflowing with bronze colored 20 year olds who mainly seem to love mediocre light beer, shouting over music, and wearing their baseball hats backwards. The sheer volume of frat-like parties is a bit overwhelming, as is the weird combination of feelings I go through ranging from judgmental to flat out envy.
Luckily however, one of the benefits of being in my 40's soon kicks in. It's this thing called "wisdom", and though I cannot claim to have much of it, I am starting to notice that I am acquiring more and more of it without really trying. It's a delightful thing actually and sort of makes up for the lack of hair that chooses to stay atop my head. With this new found wisdom, comes what Steven Covey would call, "the abundance mentality", which quite simply states that on a glorious and patriotic day such as July 4th, there is more than enough fun to go around. If the backwards hat dudes at the end of the block are blasting tuneless music, laughing at inane jokes, and drinking awful beer, well then in no way does this mean that I cannot have my own version of a good time. With help from this abundance mentality, the jealous and crotchety old man in me soon departs and my feelings of judgment and envy give way to feelings of joy and satisfaction. Soon I am out of my head and into the day.
Of course, my version of a "good time" is a bit different than that of the backwards hat gang, so "totally insane" games of beer pong give way to watching a Jim Gaffigan stand-up routine on TV. Cases of Coors Light give way to splitting a nice bottle of Chardonnay by a fire pit, and the desire for a "hot hookup" gives way to a head resting on a chest, and a dog napping by your side.
The backwards hat gang has the late night "I’m so wasted" euphoria, but I have the amazing feeling of a July 5th morning with a complete lack of nausea and splitting headache. The colors of the morning are so bright, the birds sing sweeter, and the smell of the ocean air becomes all you could ever want and all you will ever need.