Finding Happiness in A Much-Needed Beach Vacation

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Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
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It has been a wild and crazy summer so far, full of living big dreams, including purchasing my first historic downtown commercial property in Troy, New York. Yet right now I am finding happiness in a much-needed beach vacation, having retreated to the Jersey shore with family for two weeks.

Sometimes, giving our dreams our everything can be frankly exhausting. Sometimes, what is needed most is time to simply be, and that is precisely when lying on the beach, soaking in the sun, feeling the warm sand beneath my bare feet, and splashing in the waves with my niece and nephew is most needed.


I am so thankful to be taking a break from it all right now! And so thankful to be near the ocean, which has had a calming effect on me since I was a child.

Growing Up By The Ocean

Every summer when I was a girl, we headed to the Jersey shore to see family. My Dad’s family grew up in and around Atlantic City, New Jersey, and we returned there from Massachusetts every summer to vacation with family on the beaches there.

Being near the ocean has always made me feel peaceful, and has always helped me to put things back into perspective, no matter how big my problems may seem at any given moment. There is something about gazing out upon a seemingly endless expanse of water that makes me feel very small, and makes my “big” problems seem much smaller.

Although I am a redhead who burns to a crisp in about 10 minutes flat without sunscreen, I still love the feeling of the hot sun on my bare skin, and I head to the shore, slathered in lotion, during “off-hours” – after 4 p.m. or before 10 a.m., when the sun is not at its peak. I love the sand, I love the waves, I love walking along the shore, I love the views and seagulls and seashells.

I love all of it!

Time to Play

Most importantly, I have been feeling the need to get away from it all. Buying my first downtown commercial property has been a wild and fun journey already.

Closing on the property, which involved rounding up a team of investors in order to close in thirty days and buying the property in cash, was an adventure to say the least! The seller requested a 30-day cash close, and I knew it was what I needed to do.

So I made it happen. I pulled out all the stops! I reached out to all my graduate school friends and everyone I know in the financial and investment worlds.

I am very lucky and blessed to be extremely well-networked,  and my combing through my list of contacts paid off. I was able to close on the building in time and to acquire a beautiful building, that has turned into my latest fun project.

Now, the work of renovating it is well underway, and I am interviewing prospective tenants. As it turns out, I love doing real estate development, because so much of it is about having and cultivating great relationships – with all of the business and economic development leaders in the downtown, with the city, with my contractors, with possible new tenants.

And, my new tenants could potentially come from the networks that I have, or from knowing the right people who will send possible businesses my way. I love it that my beautiful downtown space can be the place where an amazing dream comes to life for someone else as well.

I love everything that I am creating, and it also has involved tons of hard work and large amounts of stress. Sometimes we just need to “unplug” temporarily, to step away from all of the work and all of the stress, and to let ourselves rest, play and unwind.

These two weeks will involve some work for me, as I follow up with leads for possible tenants, and stay on top of building business and other work contracts. At the same time, it will thankfully mostly be about playtime, especially with my gorgeous niece and nephew – Luna, who is five years old, and Nico, who is three years old.


It is such a treat to get to spend time with them, and I am loving every minute! Luna and I especially are BFFs – she follows me around whenever we are together.

“Wherever you go, I go!” she said to me the other day. And you know, I am totally okay with this, as it is a rarity to get time with my sister’s beautiful children, since they normally live overseas.

Making The Most of Everything

At this point, I have one week left on the shore, possibly more if I can arrange my work schedule so that I can stay slightly longer. I am lucky to have the world’s best contractor leading the renovations efforts at my downtown building – thanks to the amazing Vic Christopher of Confectionery Construction, LLC, I can actually breath easy when I am away, knowing that work is progressing on the building, and that he will tour prospective tenants through it while I am away if need be.

Having a great team is everything, and I have the best possible team working on my downtown building. And the most amazing family, which makes me so grateful for these times away with the people in the world who love and support me most.

Tomorrow my youngest sister Margaret arrives as well and will be spending five days on the shore with us. She is flying in from Montana, where she lives on an organic farm.

It is rare that all five siblings are together, and while we may not all be here at the same time on this trip, at least each of us will have the chance to visit with my sister and her kids.

So Much to Do!

I still have emails and messages to return every day, and want to spend time at the gym. But while I am here, the highest priorities are the kids, time with the whole family, and enjoying all the magic of the sun, sand, and the powerful ocean.

Being near the water is a much-needed balm for my soul. I am thankful to have this getaway right after the crazy month of June, right when it is needed most.

Here’s to sunshine, sand, and fun adventures when most needed for all of us. Hope the summertime brings you the chance to play and to temporarily step away from whatever responsibilities you normally have, to refresh, recharge and increase your happiness.