OPINION | Time to take another look?

A young man of my acquaintance (you know who you are...) shocked me recently by expressing his utter dislike, indeed contempt, for the beach.

He said he felt more at home taking a walk in a grey, old city than at the ocean, and rounded off the insanity by mocking people who liked the place.

He evoked a cheesy vision drawn from 1970s Coca Cola ads - all surfboards and sunshine, as if they were bad things - and dismissed beachy-types as gormless idiots.

Well, I never.

I returned the barrage by surprising him with how much I hated stage musicals and The Beatles, and we were square.

But it made me reflect on how some bad experiences or perceptions can ruin something that could otherwise bring us some happiness.

I'm not your typical beach babe - I'm fair-skinned, too slothful to surf or even really battle the waves for long, and when I was a kid I hated sand so much I made my dad carry me from the water back to my towel.

But it is just so damn beautiful, and I love the water, so I found ways to manage.

My ideal beach has shade and a tidal pool or lagoon for lazing in, and I grew out of the sand hatred. Not enough to lie on it without a towel, but enough to cope with it on my feet.

So for most of my life I have had the joy of revelling in glorious turquoise water on a frequent basis. I hate to think what I'd have missed if I'd let sunburn and sandphobia ruin it for me.

We don't all have to like everything, but working around our tastes and prejudices can give us an opportunity to try new things and maybe surprise ourselves.

Maybe just removing or adjusting one element we object to can open a door to adventures, or perhaps we could sift more carefully through a category we have previously dismissed.

After all, there's a great variety of beach experiences, just as I suppose there is a great variety of stage musicals and Beatles songs.

I'm not willing to move on those just yet, but I admit that I should. One step at a time.