For the past few months my blog hasn’t been the happiest place, and I hate that. I’m a happy person, for the most part, and this period of disillusionment has been a real departure from my usual optimistic outlook on life.
I’m going to tell a story I may have told before but it has a point, so bear with me. Growing up I lived in a little, landlocked country town, far from the sea. A couple of times a year my family and I would travel to the beach and those weeks were the happiest of my life. I never felt so alive as when I was by the ocean — or preferably in the ocean. I felt like I belonged there more than I belonged anywhere.
But there are some things that are not-s0-good about the beach. For instance, there is this particular plant that grows near some beaches in Australia (and maybe elsewhere? I’m not sure) that starts to rot in the sun on really hot days. I don’t know what this plant is called but that sickly sweet rotting smell is the most disgusting thing ever and it never fails to make me want to puke. It’s awful. That’s what I imagine disillusionment to smell like, and I’m really sorry my blog has smelt so bad lately.
Then there’s the dumpers: Those really huge waves you just know are going to smash you into the sand and remove your bathing suit in the process. I remember one summer we were on a mission trip at the beach and I was body surfing with some older guys I knew. I was just doing my thing, having a great time, and I didn’t think anything of it until later when I was approached by one of the guys wives. She told me her husband had come back from the beach just singing my praises. He couldn’t believe how many times I’d been dumped by those huge waves, and yet I kept on coming back out into the breakers with this huge grin on my face.
The thing was, I was having the time of my life. A lot of people hate dumpers and won’t go in the ocean when it gets too rough. I understand that. Being dumped by a big wave can be scary and disorienting, even dangerous. But there’s also something amazingly freeing about it. About realizing, no you aren’t going to catch this wave, it’s going to catch you and there’s nothing you can do about it. You’re not in control. You’ve just got to roll with it.
Sometimes, though, it get’s exhausting. Sometimes it feels like with every step forward you take you’re thrown back two or three. Sometimes you just need to crawl out of the surf like a bedraggled rat and lie on the beach for a bit. Sometimes you just need to catch your breath, and sometimes that old stink of disillusionment will come wafting down the beach at the exact wrong moment.
These last few months have been about catching my breath and gathering my strength. But I’m feeling good now. I’m looking at those huge dumpers ready to grind me into the sand and I’ve got a big grin on my face. This is what I love. This is what I want. This is who I am.
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It’s like diving under that first wave: cold, refreshing, a little scary, but ultimately wonderful. There’s no feeling like it, that first wave, that first draft.
So, stick with me. There will be ups and downs on this journey, but both are temporary. Between breaks, this is what remains: Me, in the sea, doing what I love.