I Believe in Mandatory Sunsets

I believe in mandatory sunsets. The kind you can see from the 4th story rooftop deck of 711 San Gabriel place, in Mission Beach San Diego. The kind that slowly descends behind the cotton candy sky and glistening ocean right around 6pm each summer night.

My family of five has always had a “no time for stopping” mentality, and this is all I have ever known. Since what it seems like the very first day of my existence I have constantly been on the move. I can recall so many nights where my “dinners” consisted of a paper plate of carrot sticks, turkey slices, and string cheese or a reheated container of some chicken pasta dish my mom had made earlier that day- all of which I inhaled in the car on the way to ballet class after struggling and squirming to change from my uniform to my leotard and tights in the back seat.

Don’t get me wrong- I live for this fast-paced lifestyle. There’s something about having places to go and people to see that makes me feel like I am productive and healthy, and anyone in my family would agree.

My sophomore year in high school my parents invested in a beach house just a few feet from the sand in a popular beach-bum town roughly twenty-five minutes from our home. But because we are each so individually preoccupied with our own sports and activities, the summer is the only time we can really afford to pack up the car and head down to the beach.

Now, the best part of this house by far the view from the roof. Once you climb those final stairs to the top, you are hit right in the face by a breath-taking panoramic shot of the ocean, the San Diego bay, and even bits of the downtown skyline. The SeaWorld tower, the white mission-like campus of USD, and all things that make San Diego unique in its beauty and style complete this one of a kind vision.

It was the first evening we spent at the beach house that my mom frantically yelled downstairs from the roof to all of us in the house: “MANDATORY SUNSET! COME UPSTAIRS!” My two brothers and I, sarcastically rolling our eyes, headed up to the roof after our dad said the all to familiar “just do what your mom says.” Little did we know a tradition was in the making. My family sat on the roof together, watching the humbling oranges and pinks of the sunset come and go like the tide below it. No one was rushing from anywhere; no one had anywhere to be. Our only agenda was to relax, keep our eyes on the sky, smile in each other’s company, and talk.

I believe in mandatory sunsets. I believe in being with the ones I love, in the place I love. I believe that sometimes it is necessary to drop everything and remember what is truly significant in our lives.

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