Ana María González Paniagua (She/Her/Hers)
Editorial Team Member

I screamed with excitement as I stumbled upon foam and cold water. I looked at the sky and prayed, “Wash away my sorrows,” as the wave came and went, taking our sorrows with it, while I held my mom’s hand. 

Nature has healing powers, transporting us into the most beautiful places without forcing us to look far. Nature is more than a magical location; it is every flower, bird, cloud, and star, each with its own capacity for wonder. For me, the beach gave me that safety and comfort. 

Ever since I was a little girl, I have lived near a captivating beach with crystalline water and soft sand. And ever since I was a little girl, I have been a perfectionist and overthinker. Sometimes it felt impossible to feel good enough, so my mom would hold my hand and randomly say, “Let’s go to the beach.” Through her, I learned that taking a break to enjoy the world’s wonders can help us place everything into perspective. 

Perspective. A word that may go underused. The thing is, I have learned this word has much more power than we initially care to believe. The ocean can be both the most daunting piece in nature and the most wonderful adventure. It can represent death, pollution, and fear, yet it can also represent life, beauty, and peace. It’s all a matter of what you decide to focus on. Do you focus on the killer shark or the multicolored, rare fish? Do you focus on the darkness of the depths or the light that shines through the surface? 

I aim to choose light and multicolors day after day, especially when it’s rough, because happiness is a choice. I understand that sometimes the worst of us comes creeping in. In my case, that is overthinking, anxiety, perfection, and frustration. They sneak up on me, and it feels impossible to rip them away, but it is a matter of perspective. These four characteristics are not who I am. They are just a part of who I am. I do not have to rip them away, but rather tame them to make me stronger and highlight what truly makes me unique: my kindness, my loudness, my loyalty, my persistence, and my loving heart. 

Finding wonder in nature with loved ones has been my shoulder to rest on when life gets challenging. Find beauty in what brings peace to you to feel its energy rush through you, but most importantly, find that beauty and translate it into recognizing your inner beauty.