Keeping head above water, or learning to snorkel–a year of living singly


December 19, 2019 by readlisaread

Well, it’s been awhile since I trotted out an overwrought metaphor, and since it’s coming up on Christmas and therefore a great time to be both anxious and emotional, let’s dance, shall we?

This reflection begins with a few reminders that a year has passed– a rent increase, a notice from the post office that my mail forwarding is about to expire, the tenants’ insurance renewal form…. and here I am, almost a year in on my new life.

An awkward conversation with a friend last night made me consider how I’ve grown. My metaphor is to contrast two visits to a beach a year apart. Last year, I was learning how to snorkel for the first time.  I was in all ways awkward and and anxious and at times overwhelmed. Despite having an experienced and patient coach at my side, I experienced moments of sheer panic, uncertainty and seconds of sheer joy as beautiful tropical fish on the coral reef came into view. Fast forward to the beach a year later. No one at my side. I entered the dark water as the sun was rising and as I felt the body memory come back, so did lessons learned over the prior 12 months.  Breathe.  Listen. Be in the moment.  You have got this… After a peaceful swim and a number of fish passing me by, I was about to head to shore, when movement to my left caught my eye. Not one but two giant sea turtles were suddenly right at my side, as close 3 or 4 feet– WAY too close, in other words… but I remembered what I had learned.  Relax.  Breathe. Give them space. One turtle swam in front of me and I could see right into its eye, which was looking right back at me.  I fumbled momentarily with my camera, which I did not get to function, and then realized a picture would never do this experience justice anyway, and so I just enjoyed the moment. I’m grateful for my lessons learned over this past year, and look forward to more (for, oh yes, I know there will be more….).  And I am especially grateful for how those lessons were delivered, whether from a loved one, a stranger, or a creature, or something else found in nature.


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