If I had another life, I would want to spend it by the sea. Not the perfect sea, with its crystal blue waters, so clean and clear you can see straight through to the bottom. No, that’s not the sea I love. I would want to be by the restless sea, the one that looks murky and mysterious, that rises and crashes and threatens to swallow you whole. I would want to be by the sea that roars.
Lately, I have had to remind myself of this. Because my life has been roaring – with rising demands, and murky anger, and the kind of grey sadness that can swallow a person up. I have had to remind myself that this is what I would choose over a life of serenity. I would always pick waves over nothing.
I haven’t been writing because I haven’t found the time or the words to express exactly how I’ve been feeling, and so anything I’ve tried to write has sounded hollow and dishonest. There are many ways and places I can avoid truth. Writing is not one of them.
If I had another life, I would want to spend it being brave. Not fearless, because fear is important, but courageous in the face of fear. I would want to be weak enough to be afraid, but strong enough to understand its lessons. I would want to be scared enough to be daring.
Truth is scary because it is rarely, if ever, simple. We can pretend that it is, and sometimes we do, sometimes we have to. We can make ourselves believe it is so clean and clear that we can see straight through to the bottom. But it is much more complicated than that. It is murky and mysterious. It ebbs and flows. It rises and crashes and changes. It moves.
And it looks different to different people. What I perceive as a lie can be someone else’s truth. What I know as truth can appear false to others. Not all of our stories line up. But one is no more or less honest than the next. Sometimes lies aren’t lies at all, but only another way of seeing.
We can only exist in the reality we’ve created for ourselves, in what we’ve chosen to believe or not believe. We can only live in our own idea of what’s right, which isn’t a lie, and isn’t a truth, but only an idea I have to believe in order to survive. I have to let others choose their own seas and make their own waves. I have to be willing to let go of lives that aren’t mine.
If I had another life, I would want to spend it spreading joy. I would want to be kind and nurturing and honest. I would want to reach across oceans just to hold the hand of someone who needs it. I would want to wake up each morning in the pursuit of love and truth. I would want to be open and restless and always ready for adventure. I would want to be calm and content and serene. I would want to be as simple and complex as the sea, as daring as the tide. I would want to stop drifting.
If I had another life, I would want to spend it trying to be better. But I don’t have another life. I have this one. So I’ll try anyway. I’ll swim in my truths. I’ll cling to each rise and fall. I’ll let waves of happiness swallow me. I’ll look back on these difficult days and see clearly the kind of courage it took not to sink.