Friday, June 12, 2009

J-J-Jaded

'My beach', growing up, was Myrtle Beach, SC. With the exception of the two times we crossed the country, we went to Myrtle Beach every summer in my memory until I was eighteen.

Prior to that - prior to what I can actually remember - I summered on the beaches of New Hampshire where my dad went to grad school. I'm told I felt quite at home there. I have no cause to doubt that information.

During my mad running away from home trying to find myself years I visited many fine beaches in Texas and Florida and up and down the east and gulf coasts. I didn't make any of them my own, but I loved them all.

When I settled in the eastern PA/south Jersey region, I claimed the Jersey and Maryland shores as my own. I spent as much time there as I could, drawing something vital from the salt air by day and the boardwalk by night.

I love the beach.

So I moved to Ohio.

Yeah, I don't know. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

A couple years ago my sister introduced me to her father-in-laws place just off Marco Island in southwestern Florida. My sister and her husband have a boat and use it to get to small uninhabited island beaches.

With all those beach going years under my belt, I have never seen anything like it.

The first time she took me I was completely awestruck.

The shells are insane.

The privacy and quiet and freedom are something I've never known on a beach before.

The water temperature is perfect.

It truly is a paradise on earth.

This is the first time my family has been here.

I could not wait for my kids to experience these beaches.

Don't get me wrong - they loved it. They had a great time. They ran, they played, they swam, they shelled. It was a great day at the beach.

But they weren't impressed. They most assuredly weren't awestruck.

The things that bring delight and wonder to my middle-aged soul were viewed very matter-of-factly by my children.

Do you think kids in general are just jaded? Or do you think they just expect wonderful things to the point of taking them for granted?

I remember traveling with my own parents and having my mom get all excited about something we were going to see or do and giving it a big build up. When we finally got there, more often than not, my sister and I would say something on the order of, "That's cool, I guess.", shrug, and look for something to play.

We were certainly not jaded.

We hadn't seen it all.

But we had no reason to believe there shouldn't be wonder all around us. We enjoyed it - as my children enjoyed their day on the pristine isolated beach - but we weren't amazed.

Expecting wonder.

Jaded, as I've implied? Unappreciative, as my mom expressed?

Or just the opposite?

14 comments:

the girl said...

Billy Connolly (I'm assuming you know who he is) talked about something very similar to what you're describing in his "World Tour Of Scotland" series that first aired in the mid-90s. In one of the episodes, he said that when he, his wife and his children were driving through the breathtaking Scottish scenery on various family holidays, they (the adults) would inevitably be awestruck by the grandeur of nature. Their children, however, didn't seem to give a toss one way or the other - they were more interested in playing their video games!

Perhaps an appreciation of the wider (natural) world is something that only comes with age, once the brain has passed certain functional and structural development milestones... That would be my theory. But then again, I am full of shit :)

Beautiful post.

xo

Alex the Girl said...

(Now you've got that song stuck in my head)

Ah, it's the age. When they are older they will look back, like we often do, and that is when they will see the wonder of it all. (I'm sitting here reading what "the girl" said in her comment...and I agree...it does come with age)

Although, I understand what you're saying. We (parents...moms...) build up an expectation of what we think will happen once we reach that point ie. your perfect beach, their senior year, the first dance...and when we get there they don't quite flip out the way we planned them to flip. It is exasperating.

Tammy, I must say, I am enjoying your vacation posts...they are jogging me down my own summer vacation memory lane.

Housewife Savant said...

I can't IMAGINE not being awed by the beach you described.

I hate to break it to you but your kids are evidently not right in their heads.
As a Subject Matter Expert and all-round Smartest Woman in the Universe I'll tell you that the remedy for this is a dose of Leave 'Em Home and one round of Take ME Next Time.

I've alluded to the fact that travels with my fam were a nightmare.
Mom didn't realize after 8 hours locked in a Gremlin with 5 other people the secondhand smoke was bad without food/water.
They had coffee 24/7, so turn up the AM radio and let's drive. Light her smokes off his and never let 'em up for air...

On the other hand; they took us to Disney World.
I will never.

My kids are in the lap of luxury as we drive (or as much comfort as I can create), but I am not going to DW.
How did she tolerate it?

"Mom, you rocked. Mom, you sucked. Thanks."

mama-face said...

This is kind of a depressing comment to leave you with but...

I have heard many say that we are raising the softest generation of children ever. I believe it. And while I think I have the greatest children ever, I do know they feel way too entitled. Kids seem to think they should have it all with no working for it. And who's fault would that be?

Maybe though what impresses them is just "different"; their world is so much larger than ours was; they have actual connections with people all over the world. My children know a whole lot more about what's going on in the world than I ever did.
Just thinking out loud...I'm sure my parents didn't think I appreciated things as much as they would have liked.

Thanks for making me think. Ow. It hurts. :0

Brandy said...

I think there are just some things that only adults can appreciate. Being on a beautiful, private island without the bustle of an everyday world probably doesn't get a kid excited.

While I would love it too, I think they would be happier at a theme park or somewhere that has a lot going on.

MiMi said...

I think it may be a mixture of both...they want the excitement of DW or something and also...they are probably exposed to so much awesomeness (via TV, internet, video games) that a beach is a little quiet for them. I'm sure when they get older, they'll long for the solitude of that beach.
Since we live in OR, we never got TOO excited about the beach, because here it is rainy, cold and gray. But when we went to Floride? I was so excited I could've pooped right in my pants. It was gorgeous. And I was a teenager, too! : )
Macey

Unknown Mami said...

I'm waiting for my payback. My mother is the kind of person that finds fun anywhere she goes and when I was a kid I just refused to see the fun to be had.

AB HOME INTERIORS said...

Ohio? Thats never a good idea. Thats like saying gheta is good! hahah Never been to Myrtle Beach but it sounds awesome. Happy weekend

Shawna said...

Maybe they haven't seen enough mundane and bad to realize, recognize, and appreciate the good. Because the beach you described sounds fantastic!

I haven't had a real beach day yet. I need to arrange one with the family :)

Shawna's Study Abroad

Shauna said...

Hope you have a super weekend!
♥ HUGS ♥

MaryRC said...

that is so true, my son is 12 and jjj jaded! it maddens me too. although he thought he was the smartest most inventive kid at dinner tonight when he made a growing worm out of a straw. did i act jaded? no but maybe i should have.

Gamma Sharon said...

I don't think they are jaded, they just have different priorties at that age. There will come a day when they will appreciate grown-up things. Your first comment from "the girl" said it very nicely.
Over from SITS to say Hi! Have a great weekend.

carma said...

When I was young the only time we went to the beach was in the dead of winter because my parents didn't like the heat and weren't beach types...yeah, that was LOTS of fun!

I'm going to sound all goody goody here, but my son absolutely enjoys the few times we go to the beach each year. It is a real treat for him, maybe because we don't go that often...

Isle of Palms is our fave. I'm sure I'm repeating myself when it comes to my love of Charleston ;-)

Gibby said...

This is so interesting, since I have just experienced the same when we went to the redwood forest last week. As the adults stared in awe at the glory of those awesome trees, my youngest just didn't get it. It's a tree, what's the big deal? We have trees at home, duh! (Ok, so she's five, but still.)

As for my oldest, who will be 8 in a few weeks, she enjoyed the trees, but I don't think she really got it. She was more obsessed with locating the mountain lion that had been spotted there recently, hoping to take him home as a pet.

Sigh.