A Reflection on the Ocean

I have a lot going on. I say that not as a complaint, but as a preface for the below. I feel that it is important that you, as a reader, understand my state of mind before diving into my article and what led me to reflect. I’m getting married in 2 months. We just closed on a house a few months ago, which comes with a full list of projects (and it’s not one of those lists that shrinks as you complete things – I am fully testing the limits of my power with a power drill). My job is in its busiest 2 weeks of the year, and I’ve managed to time a sickness perfectly to keep me up most nights. Probably more than any other point in my life, I have a lot going on.

Now, usually at times like these I do 2 things. The first of those is to struggle to figure out where to start on my to do list and thus waste time I could use to accomplish things. The second is to think about something that makes me happy, as it usually helps to re-center my thoughts. For me, this time, it was the ocean. I didn’t get to swim in the ocean this weekend, but I did get close enough that I could smell it and see it from a distance. See, I grew up with the beach as a part of my life. I was, and still am, lucky enough that my grandparents own a house not far at all from the beach on the NJ shore (I don’t want to hear that there is a better place in the world, because there isn’t). The ocean has always been a huge part of my life. The ocean represents a lot for me. On this particular weekend though it represented an opportunity – an opportunity to center my thoughts before a busy and exciting two months. The following is my reflection on the ocean.

The ocean does a lot of things that I find incredible. The first of these is that is has such distinct highs and lows. Every day, every week, every month, every year, the ocean has high tides and low tides. Some are higher or lower than others based on external stimulus (see – The Moon), but throughout the constant rising and falling the ocean, at its core, remains the same. It has the same incredible potential to destroy, to relieve, to sustain life, to cleanse, to refresh, and to erode. We view the ocean from a very focused lens. We see it from our perspective standing on or close to the shore. We can see distinct differences in the high and low tides next to docks and jetties. In the grand scheme though, the ocean itself remains largely unchanged through the highs and lows. Its currents are constantly present. We see it as strong or weak on particular days, but the reality is that the ocean holds the same powerful potential all the time. And this strikes me as similar to us as humans. We, too, hold incredible power, but have an unending series of highs and lows that we interpret as periods of strength and weakness.

The ocean also has waves (which are awesome, in my opinion). Not only do these waves provide gnarly barrels from time to time, but they are also constant. Not all are big – in fact most aren’t. But again in this case it is the distinct consistency of the ocean that I find so inspiring. No matter what it crashes against, be it beaches, rocks or cliffs, the ocean continues to throw itself with energy at the obstacles in its way wave after wave. Yes, I understand that the ocean is not a living being, but there is something invigorating about that level of consistency.

So through this I remind myself that in periods of time with a lot going on that I should try to be as consistent and steady as the ocean in my approach. However I don’t think it is this, even, that most strikes me about the ocean. I think it is the beauty that really gets me. In rain, sleet, snow, thunder, haze, dark, light, calm, or storms, the ocean is still beautiful. And all of these little actions (waves) it takes and the emotions (tides) it experiences are a part of its beautiful existence. That it what truly awes me.

This reflection served as a reminder to me that the beauty in my individual tasks is what really matters. I can’t wait to get married. I cannot describe how excited I am. It is also so totally cool that I am allowed to own a house and put (to an extent) whatever I want in it. And to be honest, the project work is kind of fun and potentially a hobby. I love my job, even when I am busy. My sickness will be gone sooner rather than later. I just have to remember how beautiful it is that I get to throw myself, with all my energy, into each day and each task. Everything I do is a chance to make a small impact. By throwing myself with energy into each day, I can be one small piece of a beautiful world. One beautiful, sparkling, majestic wave in the ocean of humanity.  And I am ready, now, more than any time in my life, to take these giant exciting steps.

Peter Alexander

Peter is a 25-year-old life-long New Jersey Resident. He graduated from the University of Scranton with an English and Theater double major and currently works in New York City. He has a passion for birdwatching, baseball statistics, and singing karaoke on long car rides. He is very excited to be a part of the Project Wednesday team!

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