Drive until the map turns blue.

I think I actually might have a problem. I mean, everyone loves going to the beach, right? Okay, well multiply that by about 50 and you have my feelings for any body of water. Except for a bathtub, I hate baths. I’m talking ocean, lake, river, pond, creek, stream, and even puddles. My name is Paige and I am addicted to water.

It started off at a young age. Living 2 miles away from the Lake Michigan shore put me at the beach at least 4 times a week. I still remember my favorite swimsuit: it was from Disney World and had a huge Mickey slapped on the front of it. But being that I lived in Chicago growing up, it was not always swimsuit weather. Yet, my adoration for the water would not keep me away. Even when it was below freezing, my mom would take my brother and I to Gilson Beach every week, and you better believe we were bundled up head to toe running around in the sand.

Another early sign of water addiction is that it runs in my family. When I was born, my parents decided to send out Christmas cards every year to all of their family and friends. It just so happened that the first 3 pictures had some sort of water setting in the background. Thus, a tradition was born. To this day, all of our Christmas card pictures have had water in the background. One December, we even had to put a water bottle in the corner of the photograph because we didn’t have time to travel anywhere that year. It’s one of the weirder family traditions, but I know that’s something that I will always remember and hopefully carry on to my family in the future.

Spring break was no longer just about getting away from school, it was about getting as close to the water as possible and staying there. My parents always wanted to change up where we went for Spring break each year, but year after year I convinced them to continue to go back to the same beach. As I write about it, I can see it so vividly in my head even though I haven’t been back to Sanibel Island in 5 years. I remember walking along the beach collecting shells that I would get to use later to make into different shell animals at Shelly’s Shell School (I completely bought it that her name was Shelly).

Flash forward to high school and college, and I am always the one begging my friends to take a trip somewhere near the water. Being this age, its not about getting to the water and then playing around in it for hours. It’s about just being there with no agenda and soaking it all in (pun intended). As I grow older, I realize how much more I really need the water. Being by the water just puts my soul at ease; it literally feels like everything that I ever worried about is floating away. Now, I realize how much of a luxury it is to sit at the water’s edge and just take it all in. That feeling is something I think about every day that I can’t be by the ocean or on the dock of a lake.

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