Playing in the waves of life
Several lifetimes ago when I was still a manager in the work place, I often started a meeting with a few words of caution. It conveyed one thought I wanted all the participants to keep in mind. It was what I called the "playing in the waves” phenomena. I'm sure you can recall spending some time at the beach, playing in the waves. You'd wade in, swim some, float some, maybe body surf some or just bounce up and down as the waves washed over you. In those moments as you enjoyed yourself, all thoughts of time and location were lost. It mattered not what time of the day nor which beach you were on; you simply enjoyed the moment.
But when the playing was over and you waded back onto the beach, you looked around and realized you were not where you first entered the water - you were many, many yards away. Where you were then standing on the beach may have been interesting, but it wasn't where you first started out. Unthinkingly, as you played, the forces of the waves, not truly perpendicular to the beach, were washing you slowly down the shore line. And thus my words of caution to those in the meeting. We were there for a single purpose and we had to make sure that our conversations, like the waves, didn't allow us to drift off topic.
Well, while walking the beach today and observing the waves washing up on the shore, that old admonition came to mind. But today it was in a different context. Today, in thinking about it, I realized our lives are often affected by the "playing in the waves" phenomena. When we are young, we have goals and dreams. Armed with them, we wade into the ocean of life, focusing on our jobs and family and friends. We get so caught up in what we are doing we fail to see that those waves of living are slowly causing us to drift away from our goals and dreams.
It isn't until we wade back onto the shore do we realize that we are far from where we first started. It is only when you are older and through playing in the ocean of life that you can assess where on the beach you now are and if it is more interesting and satisfying than were you were when you first started out. But the lucky among us both enjoyed their time playing in the waves and are equally happy where they came out on the beach of life.
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