Surfing Ambiguity

Day 336 Week 49 Q4 Sunday, December 3, 2023

We are all in many oceans, much of the time, but even one is enough to require skill. When waves are coming in from multiple directions, it helps to be in a boat, even if it is a very small one. 

Your identity can be like a small boat that rises and falls along with the swell of the waves but rarely capsizes or a giant one that cuts through the waves most of the time, leaving you largely unaware of their size or direction.

Large boats require crews to operate, and in small ones, there is only you. As life comes at you from more than one direction, there can certainly be ambiguity in how to respond when out on the seas.

Many people act as though they have never been on a boat, out of a harbor, or at the mercy of the waves.  Perhaps enough wealth, health and youth can make you feel invulnerable to the waves so you never think of them, or perhaps you feel confident enough to frolic in them.

Your attitude and identity impact the ride. Are you cruising along or surfing? Do you like the adrenaline rush of dealing with ambiguity? Or do you crave the stability of a fixed platform not even anywhere near the water? 

Maybe you enjoy the dynamic range of both? Maybe you can cope with both but do not enjoy them equally? Is your life one of coping or one of surfing? Do you even like getting wet? Or can’t you remember the last time? Are you ossified or flexbile? Do you have enough bone mass and density to take a hit?  Are you excited to get up every morning to see what the conditions of the seas are?

Does uncertainty strike fear or exhilaration into your heart? Are you able to surf ambiguity? Do you even believe there is ambiguity, or does your life look like a placid lake? All of these variables are contained in each life if you are truly alive, not simply existing, but the degree to which this experience is welcome can be extremely time-varying.

The ability to predict what is coming is something most people crave. The knowing that you can not make some people weak in the knees. And then there are the surfers who deliberately go out into the waves, both physically when they are young and metaphorically when they are not.

Does there come a time when surfing is a bad idea? Does the idea of being safe, secure, and totally able to predict what is coming to seem appealing or like death? For me, it is like death. I have no desire to know in advance what is happening because it is an illusion. You do not know what is happening and when it will happen. You are as in a small boat or maybe even an inner tube bobbing around.

You just may not know it or accept it. But make no mistake; we are all including the rich and powerful, surfing ambiguity because that is all there is.