Happiness Highlights: Myrtle Beach

Our week in Myrtle Beach was surprisingly stressful. I found myself trying to keep up with the onslaught of tourist attractions that demanded my time and money every few feet up and down every street. I felt like I spent five days in a row saying no as the kids clamored for more and more entertainment. They were insatiable, and my guilt, resentment and sense of obligation combined to produce the first real meltdown of the trip.

The good news is that Jared and I had the chance to talk and learn more about what kind of entertainment is most valuable to us. We also made some adjustments to our management structure – namely, Jared now manages the money so he gets to be the one to say no.

There was loads of happiness worthy of highlighting last week, but the majority of it did not correlate with all of the things we did in Myrtle Beach. And therein, my friends, was one of the greatest lessons of the trip thus far.

Now on to the fun stuff.

Happiness Highlights June 20-26: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

One of the touristy things that was a real highlight for us was a visit to a place called Magiquest. It’s like a life-sized Dungeons and Dragons game, except I have no idea what Dungeons and Dragons is about, so that might not be it at all. Basically, we ran around with wands solving puzzles and looking for clues. It was awesome.

I was reminded how much I love puzzles. When I was a kid I used to love those math word problems and was always disappointed when I finished that part of my homework. (Yes, really.) All four of us seem to really enjoy anything that requires problem solving. We’re like an entire family of cool kids!

I love the beach. I love the sound of the ocean and the feel of the endless breeze on my face. I could (and did) just lay on the beach for hours.

I also love playing with my kids at the beach. They taught me how to make a drizzle castle and we spent at least two hours working together at the edge of the water. That was, by far, my favorite afternoon of the week. And do you know how much it cost? Not a dime.

I have to admit that I’m pretty sad about heading inland this week; I’ll miss the ocean.

Late in the week, we drove south of town to Brookgreen Gardens. It was an inexpensive tourist attraction across the street from a state park, and we’d planned to spend a few hours walking around both places while I took pictures. As soon as we pulled into the gardens, we knew we weren’t going to have near enough time to see everything and immediately regretted not making the two parks a priority earlier in our visit.

Brookgreen Gardens is an elaborate sculpture garden built on the site of three old rice field plantations. It’s massive and beautiful and far more interesting than any of us expected a sculpture garden to be. We took a guided tour and I was so impressed with how curious and inquisitive both kids were. I was struck by how much more rewarding this inexpensive attraction was compared to the pricier ones we’d visited earlier in the week.

Oh, and I shot a gun.

I have spent the majority of my life being vehemently opposed to and afraid of guns. One morning last week, I woke up after having a bad dream in which I was unable to shoot a gun in order to protect myself. I couldn’t pull the trigger. It was too heavy and too hard to pull, and I was plagued with a sense of dread about the unknown. I decided that morning that I would learn to shoot a gun when the opportunity arose so that I could rid myself of that mysterious sense of dread. On our way to Brookgreen Gardens, we passed a gun range and decided we’d stop on our way back.

As it turns out, I’m a pretty good shot.

I’m still not a fan of guns, but I’m so excited that I faced this long-held fear head on. I was really, really proud of myself – and still am. :-)

Did you do anything you were proud of last week?

Weekly Happiness Highlights are a list of things that brought me joy, peace, or happiness in the last week. The point is to remember to be grateful, to focus on the good, and to be able to better answer the question “what makes me happy?” If you decide to post your own Happiness Highlights, please feel free to share the link in the comments. I’d love to see what’s making you happy right now!

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