I love metaphors because they allow me, as a writer, to express mental concepts in a way more powerful and colorful than a straightforward explanation of ideas. They are also a bit more personalized to the individual reader than just me blabbing on and on about my own musings. It allows you, as the reader, to take something unique away from the article.
That being said, let’s talk about the tides (of life):
There’s no denying it: things are always changing. Fighting the change only makes it harder in the end. Ever try to swim against the current? It’s really exhausting. It leaves you breathless, tired and longing for the trusted and sturdy shores. But what we must realize is that in actuality, there is no shore off in the distance. You are, and always will be, forever riding the ebbs and the flows of the tides.
So how then, do you account for those times when things seem to be relatively calm? When there’s no change apparent, no dramatic shift in the status quo? Let me introduce you to the slack tide.
Slack tide is when, during the high or low tide, the water reaches it’s apotheosis and remains at a certain level for a period of time. Slack tide is the shortest phase of the tidal current, generally lasting between one and three hours. This is the time to relax, float on your back, splash and play in the still waters, and swim in any direction and manner you please. This time is calm and lacking any real current characteristics; it appears that the slack tide is the gentle and autonomous waters between high and low. But in truth, it belongs to one of the extremes. Whether a high or a low, it is all still part of the eternal flux.
When the tide begins to move back out, it is called the turning tide. The comfortable waters stir and the tide changes. High goes out as the low comes in, or vice versa, and you are caught up in the shift, feeling perhaps a bit displaced. This is generally the longest period of the tidal cycle, and when the most waves occur. No matter if you were caught off guard or saw it coming miles away, this is the time when you either chose to surf the waves, or let them crash harshly upon you head.
So why be aware of the tides and the shifts if everything is just going to change according to it’s own schedule anyway?
Because it is important to enjoy the still waters for the freedom they allow you, whether be a high or a low, to be able to choose the course of your journey. Take this time to accept things as they are. Put up your feet and take a break if you need to, or use this time to plan for your next trajectory. But remember, this time will not last long, so use it wisely.
And when the tides inevitably change, be aware that things are going to feel a bit off kilter and out of your control, but ultimately you have the ability to choose how you will deal with the waves as they approach. You control whether you sink or swim.
While you cannot control that things will always change, you can certainly determine the manner in which you traverse those changes.