The Ocean of Life

Photo by Kerr

If you ask anyone if they expected their life to turn out as it has, they’ll probably say no. It’s a rare person that knows exactly what their life will be like in five, ten, or even twenty years. People often talk about what they thought their life would be…sometimes they thought it would be better, other times, worse. I never thought much about it — I just went wherever the wind would take me.

I have always been a small boat in a seemingly endless ocean. But while everyone around me was rowing one way or another, I was just drifting. I let the waves take me wherever they wanted me to go, and I rarely tried to head in any kind of direction. At one point in high school I tried rowing, but when I stuck my ore in the water the waves reared up and tossed me out of the boat. I sucked water into my lungs and wondered if this was what my life was supposed to be. Is this it? Is this all I’m ever going to amount to? Somehow I managed to climb back into the boat, cough up the water, and take a breath. The waves always died down, and I didn’t try to row again for a long while. It was terrifying to know how little control I had over my life, how by having an endless list of choices it seemed like I had none at all. It was easier to just let the water move me, rather than move by myself. It took me into places I never thought it could go, in both good and bad ways. Things changed, but rarely how I wanted them to. Not how I expected them to.

It reminded me that no matter how hard you try sometimes life has other plans. Like in the ocean, life has no one path. No obvious route for you to follow, at least not for me. I never knew where I wanted to row. I never thought I would find where I wanted to go, where I wanted to end up.

I guess I was wrong in that regard. I started rowing a couple years ago. I know now where I want to be, but it’s a damned hard place to get to. I’m not sure I’ll ever get there, if there’s even a chance. It hurts to have finally found what I believe is my path in life, and be unable to reach it. Even though there aren’t any waves tossing me out of the boat any more, I feel like they’re going to come soon. Something is going to happen soon.

And until that happens, I guess I’ll just keep rowing.

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