How to Make Life-Changing Decisions

It’s like entering water confidently without drowning

Water invites you in. It entices with calmness or excites by tumbling and crashing. We all have a relationship with it. Of course, we are part water ourselves, so it’s no wonder we share a connection.

As a child, I lived near the sea. Each morning, early, my mother would march my sister and I behind her, like ducklings. We’d strip off our clothes and dash, giggling, into the cold ocean. The only sane way to enter was, indeed, to charge, and refuse to stop, even when we were chilled to the bone.

The trick, I recall, is to submerge your shoulders fast. If you falter, loitering halfway in, doubts creep into your mind. You consider how cold it is and whether it’s better to return to shore.

We face similar dilemmas in other areas of life too. Should you go all in? Submerge yourself in a relationship, career, or whatever new venture calls you? Or turn back. Leave opportunity to fade with the tide as you settle back into your comfort zone.

It is wise to ponder decisions. Weigh the pros and cons. Yet, at times, it seems best to submerge. Get your shoulders beneath the waves before fear of discomfort washes you back to the beach.

One day I nearly drowned. I was about three-years-old. The ocean called me in, and like so many times before, I pottered into its depths fearlessly. It would have been natural to throw my arms about and panic as the sea began to swallow me and pull me deep. And perhaps I did, but that’s not what I recall.

I remember a profound stillness. A calmness entered me. Or did I create it and send it into the water? With my eyes open under the sea, I watched sand particles whirl around me as the water twisted and turned, taking me with it.

Sometimes, in everyday life, we don’t think about consequences. We rush into inviting circumstances, carefree. We set events in motion. Like dominos, one action causes another, and before you know what’s happened, a spell is cast to carry you away from reality. Everyone else sees you are drowning. But you wonder why they make such a fuss.

My favorite water memory is of a visit to a cool forest river on a hot summer day. I dipped my toes at first. Or did I plunge a hand below the flat, shining surface to test the temperature? Then, I waded in, taking my time to adjust.

With fortitude, I made gradual progress. First, I got my feet wet, and glanced down at the ripples cast in sunlight on my toes. Next, up to my ankles. I let the water dance there, gently lapping my lower legs as I ventured deeper into the darkest part of the river.

I can’t be certain if I entered that water or it chose to wrap me in its arms. Was I invited by it? Or did I ask it to let me in? Either way, I entered at a steady pace, and without hesitation. And herein lies the key to entering any venture.

When we take too long to make up our minds, we are in danger of fleeing back to our comfort zones. If we rush in, regardless of the consequences, we might drown in our mistakes. But, if we travel forward with calm assurance, hold our heads high, yet aren’t afraid to check our progress and note where we’re going, we’re more likely to make the right choices.

Independent content creator, ghostwriter, author mental health advocate, and poet.

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