Unexpected Tides | Teen Ink

Unexpected Tides

January 11, 2021
By madelynhind BRONZE, Congers, New York
madelynhind BRONZE, Congers, New York
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Growing up I got the privilege to visit mother nature’s best creation, the ocean, very often. Having a house so close to the shoreline allowed me to get very familiar with the Atlantic Ocean. As early as I can remember, I spent all my summer days swimming in the ocean until my fingers were wrinkled and pale. At only 3 years old, I was thrown in, struggling to learn how to swim, to then being propped up on a board just a few years later. 

Every summer of mine consisted of the warm sun beaming on my face, while my mom forced zinc on my nose as soon as I touched the sand. My arms are already sore from carrying a 6 foot long surfboard from my house to the beach. I analyze the waves and take the tide into consideration as well. I never understood the fear of the ocean, it’s the most natural place to be. The rough waves always excited me, as if nature was welcoming me into her arms. 

The ocean was more than just somewhere to swim or surf. I felt a deeper connection, as if tides and waves represented my life. Sometimes you get hit with waves you don’t expect, tides that will pull you in every direction you don’t want to go. The moment I jumped into the water, I was taught when the tide grabs hold of you, not to fight it, yet to go with it until it settles down. I didn’t quite understand this, why would I allow the ocean to carry me deeper into the unknown? How would I be able to get back to shore?  

This is yet another lesson the ocean has explained to me. When unexpected change arrives, rather than fighting it, or acting radiply out of character, you must observe and adapt to your environment.

Not only has the ocean represented life itself and taught me the greatest lessons I could learn, it has been the greatest distraction. The water removes me from reality for just a moment and the problems I seem to never escape. The only problem in the world is simply don’t drown, which isn’t difficult, until it is. The rare occasion when mother nature acts up is the biggest reality check. That wave you tumble over or the tide that pulls you out, causing you to feel like you’re drowning, until you finally reach the water’s surface. The feeling of that deep breath after being trapped under water is all that matters. At that very moment, all other problems disappear. 

The ocean was always more than a vacation spot to me, the second I knew how to swim my older sister was teaching me how to stand up on a surfboard. It became what one might consider a safe place, where I wasn’t judged or watched. Some of the best lessons I learned didn't take place in a classroom, or taught by a coach. I learned more about life from the ocean than I ever did at school. Just like us, the ocean has it’s good and bad days, some days are rough and dangerous, while others are calm and smooth. 

The water has shaped me into the person I am today, connecting me to real life problems I face and will see in the future. Some days there’s a good tide, all odds in your favor, perfect surfing day. The next hits you right in the face, waves knocking you down, and the ocean tugging at you. Struggling to swim, but you will eventually make it out.

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