As the daytime end of the first day on the New Year approached, my family and I took a drive to La Jolla to celebrate my birthday.
We picked up my favorite pizza from Carino’s (I’ve been a loyal since the early 80s) and headed ‘round the corner to find a place to catch the setting of the sun.
It was a gift just to be out and about with my family, but the gifts kept on coming. Three cars spread across the only park-able space above Marine Street Beach, but it seemed as though four cars should comfortably fit. Mike put on his mask and asked one of the drivers if he wouldn’t mind scooting over. He happily did, and we happily had a perfect parking perch to view the edge of California connecting with Pacific Ocean and the sun descending below the eternal horizon.
After devouring two slices of deliciousness, I hopped out of the car to film the scene: waves rolling towards the shore, some guys throwing a football, socially distanced groups of friends spending quality time together, and the golden orb in the sky shining like a comforting beacon watching over all of us. No matter what each of us was doing, we were all going to witness the end of the wonderful first day of 2021.
After filming, I noticed a couple trying (and failing) to take a selfie. It’s hard to get it right with the light of the sun at your back. I offered to take a picture of them and took two pretty decent shots. As the woman was saying thank you, I asked her to hold on so I could edit them to pull out the shadows and make the pictures even better. She expressed even more gratitude, and I asked her in Spanish where she was from (I had noticed her accent).
She and her husband were visiting from Spain. We got to talking about Madrid (their home town), what I do for work, dear friends who live in Spain, and of course, jamón serrano. We had such a great time chatting—it was true joy to connect with travelers, to (literally) speak their language, and to be of help to another person.
The woman kindly offered to reciprocate and take a picture of our family. We gratefully accepted. She captured a moment of happiness for all of us—happy to leave 2020 behind, to be together, to meet people visiting our city, and to share a sunset.
None of this was monumental or life-changing, but good things don’t need to be. Happiness and gratitude can fill our lives at any moment if we let them.
As we all move forward and into 2021, I wish you an abundance of happiness in your daily lives and good health for you and your loved ones. I hope that you make gratifying connections with others, whether you’re staying in town or traveling. And I really pray that we’ll all be able to explore our world and visit all the places we’ve been dreaming about very soon.
Happy New Year and Journey Well!