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OPINION: Lessons from watching the waves

I’m sitting on the beach, just close enough to the water that the waves occasionally push far enough to brush the ends of my feet, and ever so rarely one is dedicated enough to completely submerge them. I’m thinking surely there’s a metaphor I can force out of this experience.

Maybe something about the waves putting all their effort into reaching the beach only to be dragged back to the ocean.

Are we all just waves who have put all their strength into reaching a goal only to realize that we don’t know what to do when we achieve it?

Or maybe something about my feet finding sanctuary from the hot sun in something they had nothing to do with. Their relief is from the effort of the waves, not any of their own doing.

Are we all just waiting to be in the right place at the right time to receive others’ charity?

Or maybe there isn’t a metaphor here. Maybe my searching for the meaning is doing nothing but distracting me from the comfort of the waves. Perhaps my deep thinking is blinding me to the tranquil situation that I am in.

In college, we are trying to find our place in the world. We strain and hope that every moment will help us decide where we belong. We over analyze every situation, hoping to make a discovery about who we really are. But sometimes all we are doing is missing out on great moments.

We must be able to forget about finding ourselves for long enough to enjoy the moment. I’m not trying to tell you to live in the moment, we just can’t forget to kick back and enjoy ourselves in the midst of looking to find ourselves.

Trying to find myself has caused me a lot of stress over the past few years of my life. I imagine that I’m not alone in that fact. The simple truth is I’m never going to find myself unless I stop looking. I never would have enjoyed sitting here if I hadn’t stopped looking for the meaning in it. I didn’t appreciate the waves until I took them for what they really were: waves and nothing more.

It is inevitable that we will find our purpose, we have to make sure we enjoy ourselves along the way. The purpose of a wave is to fight to reach as far on the beach as it can, and sometimes our purpose is to sit and enjoy the waves.

Article and photo by Harrison Baldwin

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