A long time ago, a fortune teller told me I would always be drawn to the ocean. At the time, I didn’t believe her. You see, not only am I a terrible swimmer, I’m absolutely petrified of sharks. If even a stray piece of seaweed brushes my legs when I’m paddling, I run screaming for the hills.
But I have to admit, in times of stress, fear or sadness, there’s something comforting about the ocean. Feeling so small, so insignificant, standing on the edge of such a powerful wilderness, the intensity of my problems are dissolved in an instant. For how can they matter so terribly, when they have no consequence at all to the ocean?
A recent trip to the beach with my daughters served to anchor this notion more firmly. You see, I’ve been feeling a little lost just lately, second-guessing my chosen direction and doubting my skills to succeed. I didn’t expect my new editing business to take off like a rocket overnight, but I did hope to see a little more traction. Especially as I took such a leap last year, giving up my day job and trusting in the universe that this decision was right.
However, as my girls and I walked hand-in-hand to the water, a familiar peace came over me. It’s a peace I only feel when I’m in the right place at the right time, and with the people I Iove the most. On the beach behind me, setting up the tent, were my parents — so supportive, so caring, so loyal; there has never been a time that they weren’t there for me, cheering me on. And my girls, my beautiful girls. Their little hands pressed into mine as we jumped into the waves.
In that sun-filled moment, sand sinking under our feet, cool water soaking our skin, I wondered how it was possible my little girls were so perfect. And all mine. Aren’t I lucky?
In the distance, two jet skis chopped the ocean, leaving trails of frothy chaos. It was loud, so we stopped our game for a minute to watch them disappear down the coast. It was only a passing turbulence. After they’d gone, beachgoers resumed their activities — swimming, chatting, playing. The only indication of their passage was a freak wave that came out of nowhere, drenching the swimmers who had ventured past the shallows. There was momentary panic, but it was soon overtaken with laughing.
It reminded me that all things pass, and that problems, which seem so insurmountable at the time, can almost always be solved, if not forgotten. Right there by the ocean I felt happy. It didn’t matter about business, or money, or stress, or deadlines. All that mattered right then was my family, our health, and our happiness together. Yes, the problems were still there. But I could see them in perspective. Worrying solves nothing, and the ocean once again had washed my worries clean away.
When my soul is serene and stripped bear like that, free from my albatross, there is never a time that I do not want to write. Right there on the beach, words rose up inside me and begged to be laid down on the paper of my mind.
It’s like writing lives inside me, and like a strong rising tide, I am always pulled to words. I think maybe the ocean and my writing are linked somehow for me. They certainly both affect me on a level that lies beneath my skin. And editing too, believe it or not. Yes, I do it for money, but it’s also for love. To help another’s words to sing on a page is so primordially satisfying for me, it’s actually therapeutic.
So I came to the conclusion, that day on the beach, that even if it doesn’t work out — my writing and my business — I still have to do it and I still have to try. Because it’s so intrinsically me, it would be impossible not to.
But if you see me working at Coles, or perhaps the pharmacy, or maybe the bakery (actually, not the bakery, because I can’t cook to save my life), just know that I’m happy, doing what I need to do to look after those I love. After all, we can’t always do what we want to do. But we can still dream about it, work towards it, hope for it. And the ocean will still be there when I want to be reminded.
As for that fortune teller? Well, she might well have been onto something. Not only do I feel better when I’m near the ocean’s depths, it’s also inspired a book. A book called Jane Bardot. And one day, I promise one day, I’ll find the chance to finish it…
What do you dream about? What helps you to connect with your dreams?