I used to not understand why people liked the beach. You go there and, what, just sit in the sand? Boring. But after being in Cancun for two weeks, my eyes have been opened. I get it now. And… I love the beach.

Two things have led to this newfound understanding. The first is that I work. Most of my previous beachgoing was done when I was a teenager. Back then, I had no stress and nothing to worry about. Going to the beach wasn’t relaxing because I didn’t have anything to relax from. My default existential state was one of relaxation. But now I spend all day working on my computer. And when I say all day, I mean all day. Like from eight in the morning till midnight. The work isn’t hard physically, of course, but it’s mentally draining. Going to the beach now means disconnecting from all of that. It means that I can just sit and not think about how to get more traffic to a website or needing to write 3,000 more words before the day is over. It feels fantastic to sit on the beach and be warm and do nothing. I get that now.

And then there’s the other thing that has led to my beachgoing rebirth. The beach—especially the water—here in Cancun is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. Up until recently, I had never been to a tropical beach. The best beaches I’d been to were in California. Sure, southern California is known for its beaches, but that water is miserably cold even in August. I can handle the cold when I’m in the mountains, but not when I’m half-naked and in water. And all of the southern California beaches I’ve been to have been nice but not… pretty.

But Cancun. Wow. I mean, look at this picture I took the other day:

The beach in Cancun

It’s unreal. The sand is like powdered sugar. The blue of the distant water is the truest, bluest blue I’ve ever seen. When I’m standing out in waist-deep water I can actually see my feet on the sand below. But the best part is the temperature of the water. No goosebumps. No shivering. No need to keep moving in order to stay warm. This is the way the beach should be—a sunny, salty, turquoise, room-temperature bath.

As I was floating in the water yesterday, I couldn’t believe what was happening. I couldn’t believe I was in Mexico. I couldn’t believe I was floating in the Caribbean Sea. I couldn’t believe that it was at the beach (the beach!) that I was having one of the most beautiful experiences I’d ever head. And I couldn’t stop smiling.