Seek out Oases in the Oceans of Life

desert_islandLife’s always exciting, if you choose to look at it that way.  Just look around at your own life and of those around you.   Rarely do you see a decision-less, remote environment of stagnation.  Things are always moving.  There are always more things to do, to accomplish, to experience.

Yet, despite this, we often find ourselves unsatisfied with the direction we’ve taken, feeling caught in a passionless, dull situation (either personally or professionally), and too often we throw up our hands in frustration and forget to keep moving.

Think about it.  Imagine you’re in the middle of the vast ocean, bobbing up and down far from shore.  On the horizon is a tiny speck of land, a miniscule island surrounded by nothing but the deep blue.  Pretty depressing thought, or is it?  To be honest, if I was in that situation, I’d be damn thrilled to see that tiny little speck, if for no other reason that I might mean I wouldn’t have to continue simply bobbing there!

jennifer atlanticSo, what would I do?  Well, I’d make for the island, of course.  But I wouldn’t simply put my head into the water and start blindly swimming.  Try it….99% of the time you’d miss your target.  Nope, you need to occasionally pop your head up and look around, recalibrate your direction, and plot a slightly altered course.

But when you pick your head up to look around, even then do you stop moving?  I would hope not, because if your arms and legs stop moving and you’ve got your head up, your body is going to naturally sink beneath the water.  So you keep moving, treading water with both your arms and legs.

Now, take this analogy to the rest of our lives.

1)  Instead of being saddened by only seeing a speck of land on the distant horizon, look at this as an opportunity to rest, recuperate, and reflect on your situation.  It’s still better than if you had NO land in sight.

2) Even as you move toward your goal (be it an ultimate goal or an intermediate milestone), take time occasionally to pick your head up and make sure you’re still headed in the right direction.

3) When you do stop for a breather and to recalibrate, even then, don’t stop moving.

Killer Whale Spyhopping2014 is a year of great calibration, recalibration, planning, and celebrating in my life.  I’ve got a goal in sight, and while it may just be a speck of land, I can’t wait to feel the sand between my toes and know that I’ve made it even that far!  For me the journey entails many different aspects…from greater collaboration with teaching colleagues, completion of more than a decade of my own higher education goals, adjusting to life with one child off to college and a semi-only child relationship with my younger daughter still at home, reconsideration of my own retirement planning and diversification options (working smarter, not harder), book writing ideas, backpacking treks and expanded long-distance running goals.

While your own personal and professional goals and direction surely look differently from mine, pick out that speck of land for yourself, even if you can only see it at the apex of the rhythmic ocean swells.  And start swimming!

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