The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. Isak Dinesen
The Sea – This is a bit of a two-parter. Philosophically, it is the one of the greatest unknowns on our planet. The one thing we cannot and will never control. We can influence it, affect it, hurt it, but we cannot ever control it. And that’s a scary thing to think about. We humans love nothing more than to be in control. Many of us (myself included) spend a lot of time and energy on attempting to control our lives and environments. It’s stressful and draining. Yet we continue to do so. Being visually reminded, and reminded on such a grand scale as the ocean, that there are things in life greater than us, things we do not fully understand and cannot control is very humbling. And also very freeing in a way. The sea can help put your life into perspective. You will never be able to control everything. Stop trying. Focus instead on what is at hand (whether it be your studies, your family, your faith, a work project, your relationship with your S.O., etc.). Do the best you can with it, and do your best to take the next right step, one at a time. The world will always be big and seemingly overwhelming. But when you stop trying to control it, it become a lot less scary.
In another sense, as a marine biologist and science educator, the sea is also a constant source of awe, inspiration and motivation. With each new animal or process that I learn, it relights that fire inside me to learn more. When what I am working on feels too abstract or incomprehensible for my brain, a trip to the beach makes it all tangible and real again. Every snorkel trip, every scuba dive, every casual dip has reinforced my passion to learn about it. Protect it. Teach it. It reminds me why I do what I do. Science is real life; it should never be solely confined to textbooks and lectures.
When the days get long and dark, try to remember how far you have come, and don’t forget where you intend to go. Saltwater has been instrumental in my life in one form or another. Tell me, what inspires you? What keeps you going? What reminds you that all your struggles and hard work are worth it in the end?