When I was two and a half, the ocean stole my bucket and shovel. I had been sitting, minding my own business, my legs in the water and my butt in the sand, when they were swept away. I cried and ran for my mom, but it was too late, they were gone. It didn’t matter that a new bucket and shovel were purchased for me later that afternoon, I had come to know the power of the ocean, and I was afraid.
My great-aunt Doris, a great sun worshipper, had a house in Brigantine, NJ until I was ten years old. Every summer, my mom would bring us from LA to Philly to spend some time with my grandparents, and this trip always included some time down the shore with Aunt Doris. It was there that I lost my bucket. After she was born and as she got older, I was convinced that I was going to lose my little sister the same way.
On the beach, I’d watch her like a hawk, and would either pick her up bodily or scream bloody murder anytime she got (what I deemed) to be too close to the water. In those days I spent many hours sighing heavily and wishing Raina would just go away, but as soon as I perceived she was in danger, I’d spring into action. No large body of water was going to take her away on my guard. I seriously got in the way of her enjoyment of the beach, and made everyone else crazy in the process.
Thankfully, my sister made it to adulthood without being lost at sea, and neither did I lose a bucket ever again. However, I did spend a whole lot of time and energy being fearful that history would repeat itself and I would be bucketless once again.
Lately, I’ve been feeling fearful (although not about losing buckets). I’ve been allowing the worries about work and career get me down. I worry that because I’m in a job right now that doesn’t challenge me that I will be stuck in this state forever. That all future jobs will be like this one. It seems I need to finally learn a lesson from the ocean and my bucket, and remember that just because something happens once, doesn’t mean that it will happen again. Things will shift, and my happiness will not be lost to the waves.