It’s all out of our control. But, is that always so bad?
When I was younger, I hated the ocean. Everything to do with it terrified me. The unknown creatures that lurked beneath, getting all salty and sandy and uncomfortable, surrendering myself to a natural force so powerful, I’d have no real control over my fate. That was a big one. Having no control over what happens to me.
I used to trick myself into believing that every choice I made, every step I took, was a calculated decision. If I was unhappy in my life it was wholly because of something I did, and I could therefore pull myself out of that unhappiness by making an equally calculated U-turn.
I’m quickly learning that being in total control of one’s own life is a naïve dream. We’re all at the mercy of a number of forces that dictate where we are and what we become. For one, governments have imposed strict laws that separate families and force people to leave their homes. That was a tough pill to swallow for me. Mourning the loss of my home, twice, have been two of the largest hurdles in my life.
And what about expectations set on us by society? I’ll forever battle stigmas about depression and STIs and be told I’m too large or too loud or too abrasive. Social pressures to find the perfect job, buy property, get married, have children, raise them well all the while never aging because it “should be” a woman’s main goal in life to stay 19 forever, yet be mature enough to juggle all the above. And I know I have it so easy in comparison to the rest of the world who have to face all these alongside poverty, war, discrimination, etc.
On top of the plethora of wee social expectations and implosions that control us every day, we have to deal with and accept our own mortality. That any day, illness could subdue us, an accident could take us, or anyone we love who plays a meaningful role in our lives could stop breathing.
I was a fool to believe I could control everything.
But now, when I sit next to the ocean, I feel at peace. Sometimes, you need to learn to give in and let the forces around you take control. The ocean, though wretched and powerful, also has moments of complete rhythm and synchronicity. When you sit next to the sea on a calm evening, watching the sun set, smelling the salt and the sand and the wind and the mist, you realize that you don’t need to be in control of everything to be happy. In life, there is pain. But there is also beauty beyond our wildest imaginations.
I’m currently in a place of transition in my life, standing on the edge of a cliff of uncertainty about my future and what I should do to move forward and be happy. But then I think, “when are we not in a place of transition”? The answer is when we’re dead. Or, when we’ve decided to stop growing and learning and at that point, if we are breathing, are we even truly alive?
I guess I’m writing all this to say: I miss the ocean.
But I will keep fighting to search for answers and figure out where I want to be in my next phase of life. As cheesy as the saying may be, life is about accepting what you can’t change and making waves anyway. So far, luck has given me more blessings than I ever deserved, and I’m going to try to focus on those and embracing the inevitable as I determine what path I should take into the abyss that is the future.