A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor. John George Hermanson
Like most, I am plagued by anxiety. Some don’t notice it in me, but when they say as much, I have to laugh. If only you knew, I say, the churn of my stomach, the heightened sense that I missed something, that sometimes I feel like a wimp or a failure. I try not to let those feelings run my life, but the conversation lives in the background nevertheless.
I have learned over time that formal education alone does not prepare you for the bumps of life. Rather, education comes in many forms, particularly in the hard turns of experience. I call these instances the essential curriculum of the school of hard knocks, which throws you curve balls all the time and if you are willing to get the lessons, gives you a perspective of life that you can never get fully in a book.
On Whidbey Island in the Northwest there is a place called West Beach. Along a stretch of road, houses line up on a beach that at moments is magnificent, and in other turbulent times becomes a restless wonder, making you question whether you did the right thing living here. I imagine the occupants took that challenge because of the glorious view before them, but it comes at a cost, the erosion of elements which results in the constant siege of water and sand and the slam of driftwood at your door. An illustration of life perhaps? I think so. How we live in the face of it is the true test of character.
I love this shoreline. The sun, the turbulent storm that sometimes makes you feel powerless against nature’s forces but awed regardless, the driftwood artistically carved by an unparalleled sea. It reminds me that life, never stagnant, calls for us to remember we are part of something powerful, and humbled equally so by the reality that we don’t always get to call the shots. It’s the prompting to live our life well, to respect and care for the amazing world around us and to embrace each moment as if it were our last.