During a writing session in the doldrums of winter on a miserable February night, I decided a trip to the beach that summer would be in order. My first solo vacation experience in October 2012 had gone extremely well, so I was confidant in my abilities to travel and have fun on my own.
Cape Cod? Beautiful, but a gamble weather-wise, especially in June. Miami? Too far and too costly. So I settled for a midway point, and it became a life changing destination.
My first trip to Virginia Beach was in the summer of 2013. And I counted down the days until I went back. Little did I know, the return trip 3 years later would be so much more than just a 4 day get out of work excursion.
The original plan was to drive out on Monday, until I realized that would mean I would be spending my birthday in the car. I had stopped counting or caring about birthdays many years before, but still. It just didn’t seem right. So I did the 9 hour drive on Sunday, securing that I would wake up on my birthday with the sounds of the ocean and the comforts of a luxury hotel.
I woke up early on the morning of June 27, 2016 and quickly crossed Atlantic Ave to grab an overpriced Cold Brew from a popular coffee shop. Back to the hotel I went and immediately found myself sitting on the balcony of the 8th floor room, drink in hand, music crooning from my phone, and watching the sun make its rise up over the horizon.
Which just so happens to be the most amazing sight one can find. (I’m a water sign, deal with it.)
Prior to that morning, I had found myself in something of a bad place. More of a negative rut, actually. Mired in a mediocre job. Single for two years and zero in the way of prospects. I would look at all the “happy” couples and literally sear with hatred and envy. Uninvited and completely nonsensible animosity for people that I didn’t even know. And with my free time being occupied with the final semester of Grad School, I didn’t even have time to try and date anyway. Not that it seemed to matter.
I was moderately healthy. I went to the gym, and tried to eat right, but most of the time opted for quick and unhealthy garbage because it was easier. Tip – a 5:00am workout means nothing if a handful of hours later you’re inhaling greasy fried food and sugary packed treats.
Yes sir, it was a negative rut for sure. One that had taken place in my life for too long, but I had gotten too used to it to care.
And then, something happened.
There is no more a perfect place to be than watching the sun rise over the waves of the ocean. I had great music on. I had a strong caffeine buzz. And I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and searched my soul for peace.
I thought to myself; what was the biggest problem in my life? And it was at that very moment that I realized – The biggest problem was me.
And with that realization I decided once and for all that things were about to change – and for the better!
June 27 would now be celebrated as my own Personal New Year. And with it would come a set of resolutions. Not the lofty and standard set most offer up on January 1st when it’s so cold, dark, and miserable that they’ve gone by the wayside before the month even comes to an end.
A set of realistic, attainable, and measurable goals.
Commitments to myself.
First? A healthy body. I made a promise with myself to keep working out on a consistent basis. But more was needed. No more snacking. No more junk food. And no more meat. The benefits of a vegan diet were advantageous for sure. Shedding the excess poundage and eating and living a cleaner lifestyle would bring about positive changes, both internally and externally.
And no more negative thoughts! The creed would be a simple one; control what you can control. I think this is so important with everything that we do. So I asked myself what was bothering me in my life, and do I have control over it or not. Can I control my eating habits? You bet I can. Can I control finishing Grad School? Check. Can I control being single? Not really. So be happy with what you have and don’t expend negative energy dwelling over things you have no control over.
On the boardwalk below, some five-hundred yards or so from the hotel was the giant statue of King Neptune. The 34 foot bronze creation had been erected a decade or so ago and was now the anchor of Neptune Park, its ominous shadow cast over the infamous Virginia Beach Boardwalk.
I made an emotional connection with the statue, and with Neptune himself. I was at the halfway point of my life. I was going to make some changes. The second half of my life was going to be vastly different from the first half.
It’s easy to decide on changes when you are sitting on the balcony of an 8th floor hotel overlooking the ocean. The changes needed to come back to NY with me. Neptune would be my guide.
And thus, the Ethos Neptune was born.
Neptune carries a trident, and the Ethos would need to revolve around three fundamental pillars: Bettering oneself. Bettering your fellow man. Connecting with the environment.
The Ethos of Neptune is more than a religion…it’s a way of life…a way of bettering of your life.
-controlling what you can control
-making time for your passion
-ridding your mind of negative thoughts and self-doubt
-taking chances and adapting to change
-continuous exercise for your mind and your body
-practice the ways of minimalism
-do not count age, rather, use your name day as your own personal New Year (reflect on the past year and set achievable goals for the coming year
Bettering your Fellow Man
-showing empathy in the face of adversity
-acting to benefit the community as a whole
-performing random acts of positive karma
Connecting with the Environment
-letting the waves of the ocean wash you clean (baptism by tide)
-showing a great appreciation and respect for nature
-finding your own place (the ocean, the summit of a mountain, or the bustling streets of your favorite city)