Sink or Swim


You’re on a beach. You’ve been to the beach plenty of times. It’s always good fun. Looking around, you see more people around the beach, doing the same thing they’re always doing, both at the beach and at home. Sitting around. Laying around. Reading. Being passive as ever. It doesn’t take long before your gaze goes back to the sea and you see people swimming far, far away.

You want to swim.

You really want to swim. Problem is, you’re not sure if you’re strong enough or have the endurance to swim that far and come back. Still, those people swimming all the way over there inspire you. If they can do this, what’s stopping you? They must have some reason to swim, and you think you’ve got a good idea of why you want to swim too.

You decide not to go swimming. Instead, you walk around the shallow edges of the sea every now and again. Happy to have done just that. Hundreds of people pass you, doing the same. It’s clear you’re not the only one doing this, and you’re sure more people want to do the same thing you’re thinking. Yet nobody dares make a move.

Years pass. Every year you walk along the shallow waters at the beach during the summer. Looking at the people swimming far, far away. Envying them. Wondering what it’s like to be able to do something.

One year, you decide to go in a bit deeper. It’s awkward at first, but you get used to it quickly. The experience was worthwhile, and you decide you will go in again soon after. You decide to go deeper.

You decide to take the plunge.

It’s easy enough at first. Swimming around, going in circles, diving. It’s fun.

After a while you get tired. Looking around, you realize you can’t even see the shore anymore. You wonder if there are any boats around, but you don’t see any. Then it hits you, this is what those swimmers in the past also must have felt often. They must have wanted to come back to shore often enough, but they had reason not to go. You have a reason not to go either. A reason to stay.

It’s like there’s two versions of yourself going around. One version is swimming, and can keep swimming for as long as he wants. The other is back on the shore, wondering where to go from here. Put the two together and you’ve got a stumbling, tired, lost individual. Dealing with that feeling is likely where that sense of strength and maturity from those other swimmers came from.

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