Tossing the ring up in the air and letting it slowly sink to the bottom, I flopped into the shallow end and aimed for the bottom hoping we would both rise to the top. Again and again, I tossed the ring with the same outcome. I lost myself in the comfort of the water and suddenly noticed the ring flung in a new direction. I stood on the slope between the shallow and deep ends of the pool as it sunk down into the abyss. I was teetering on the edge contemplating my next move when my foot slipped out from under me. Down we plunged; the ring and I. I didn’t know how to swim.
I touched the bottom and pushed up hard. Gasping, I looked around. I was floundering and no one seemed to notice. Down and up, another gasp. Poolside were 80’s girlfriends slathered in oil with their aluminum foiled apparatus – soaking up every ray from the sun. I was a pool accessory that needed attention in order to rise. Quickly. Down and up. I barely surfaced when I saw them grab for their sun tea, laughing. I surrendered, thinking all the splashing must have sounded a lot like playing in the pool. With one last burst of energy, I pushed my feet down and off the bottom and surprisingly stood up in the cool breeze at surface level, safely in shallow waters.
My hair dripping in my face, panting, I asked, “Did you even know I was drowning?” They did not. They were mildly sorry as they rolled over to sun their backs. Oh! The dramatics of children. I laid my towel on the warm cement and wondered if I would be brave enough to swim again. I wondered if I was actually drowning. I wondered how I survived. I thought about how much time had elapsed. I wondered if I was as helpless as I felt in the moment.
I think about that as my mind rolls over time, value, and how we determine the best use of both. It’s easy to start out in the shallow end, but eventually, we have to learn what it takes to swim in deeper waters. Our natural curiosity will take us there if we let it. We might have learned to tread water, but not dive deep. Or, we might find ourselves sinking while others haven’t dipped a toe. We might plunge in over our heads, by choice or by circumstance and find we’ve survived with new strategies. We have infinite time and right now. Those on the sidelines might know how to save us – or not.
The world is full of moments in which we get to choose. One yes or one no begins a chain of events with all new possibilities. At the end, there is a beginning. We are enough and still full of possibility. When we think we are on the brink of understanding, we learn something new and the life we know is upended. We have only the next choice, and it will make all the difference.
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