A few weeks ago, as I was walking on the beach during a much needed break and observing to myself how much we take Nature for granted, I noticed a couple of scenes that got me thinking about how each one of us tends to react to life.
First I noticed two women in their early 30’s emerging from a home by the beach and walking towards the water. One of the women kept a brisk and sure-footed pace, quickly got in the water and kept wading farther in. The second woman moved at a much slower and tentative pace; she seemed to be waiting for the other woman to go in first. When she reached the edge of the water, she called out from the beach: “Is it cold? Is it really cold?” The other woman, who was already waist deep in the water, answered, “Sure, but you get used to it.” The last thing I noticed as I continued my walk was that the slower woman was still hesitating, standing at the edge of the water and barely allowing her toes to get wet.
I smiled to myself, trying to remember the last time I had been brave enough to swim in the ocean, in spite of the chilly water temperature… Then I thought about what I had just observed and considered how we often oscillate between these two approaches: fear and hesitancy, as opposed to confidence and daring. Which choice usually allows us to make the best out of opportunities in life?
The woman-in-the-water’s reply (“Sure, but you get used to it”) also reminded me of how powerful the simple act of shifting our perspective and mindset can be. Many years ago, when my former business partner and I owned a graphic design and publishing business, we used to make some of our magazine deliveries as an opportunity to network and maintain our connections with advertisers and supporters. These deliveries would usually take a few hours; so I always brought a water bottle with me, which I left in the car in between deliveries. For the better part of the year here in Orlando, FL, it doesn’t take too long for the water to get very hot in the car. I remember that I often whined about the water being too hot, although I could have chosen to do something about it (such as getting an insulated water bottle, bringing a cooler or adding some ice cubes to my water bottle before leaving the house). One day, my former business partner (who was probably tired of all the whining), told me in a facetious way: “Pretend it’s tea.” Her comment actually inspired an ah-ha moment. I took her advice to heart and started pretending that a nice bottle of hot tea was waiting for me in the car after each delivery, instead of hot drinking water; and from that moment on I happily drank and thoroughly enjoyed that hot water. Sometimes I would add lemon juice in my water bottle, so that I could pretend I was having lemon tea. In the end, it’s all about the perspective…
Next, I passed by a woman in her mid- to late 40’s who was spending a day on the beach completely on her own. She was very focused and engaged in the process of building a rudimentary sand castle with a moat around it. I thoroughly enjoyed watching that lady looking so at ease, as she allowed herself to relish in her fun playtime on the beach (with no need to have children around to justify it). How often do we feel that we need someone else around or something more to be able to fully enjoy life, even when what we may need the most is to enjoy a few moments with ourselves?
© Gisele Marasca-Vargas; 05/31/21
Photo by Anca Gabriela on Unsplash
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