i’m not sure that i’ve shared this with you yet, but i am a wave trainer. now hear me out; i am not going to ask you to sign up for my wave training seminar or ask you to invest in this new opportunity. i am just saying i have spent hours of my life on the beach encouraging wave excellence and it has paid off.
i am the youngest of five children and each summer we went to east hampton to spend a week or more visiting both sets of grandparents and loving every minute of the beach. as the rest of my family was mature enough to appreciate reading, napping, and pleasant conversation this left me with a fair amount of time creating my own fun. you could find me at the edge of the water with the wind in my hair talking to the waves. i would encourage the mess out of the impressive ones and really try to build up the ones that just lost their oomph at the crucial time. each time i gave constructive feedback and the “go get ‘em tiger” pep talk, letting them know i was with them and for them. the results were downright inspirational. i’m fairly certain there will be a call for interviews as soon as they schedule my 30 for 30 filming.
i was a kid on the beach talking to waves. using my hands and arms to show the waves what i wanted to see from them next, i gave examples of the arc i was looking for and the right breaking point to capitalize on both force and power to achieve the maximum wow factor. they improved, i was encouraged, my family got a break, and everyone went home happy. from an outsider’s perspective i was probably a kid with some issues talking to myself while using odd hand and arm movements, but to the one willing to step outside of the concrete i was putting on one of the most dazzling shows available.
there is much of adult life that looks like standing at the water’s edge and talking to yourself. if we are honest, there are hand motions and pep talks given to inanimate objects fairly regularly (come on blender don’t fail me now, you can break after today’s smoothie!). the key to the beauty being sustained is hidden in the motivation for the action. as a kid i was there to make the waves shine in splendor and beauty. as an adult i am here to make those i love grow in love and maturity and beauty. if i was training the waves for a rousing “hear hear” from my family, i would have been severely disappointed, for their reaction upon learning that i had been wave training was not one of encouragement and pride. i was there for the waves, for the experience, for the learning and for the joy of seeing the majestic beauty of waves showing off for the beach.
as an adult, what’s my motivation? the to-do list before me is absurd. potty train my third child and do songs and dances upon her success, doling out chocolate chips as if i was a rapper with dolla dolla bills making it rain. gently walking with our middle child, who is struggling with anxiety, to enable her to be a person who does not lose her junk when the seam on her socks is just wrong! wrong! wrong! and showing her the people around her love her and are for her so she might find peace and hope amidst the scary. taking that same child in my arms and giving her the courage to pursue that which she may not succeed in because of the adventure and the possible joy that will come from the try. getting my oldest to delight in finding out who she is and what she has to uniquely offer to the world so she will not get trapped in the people-pleasing prison and forget who she hoped to become.
from an outsider’s perspective what i am doing at any given moment looks absolutely absurd. i am dancing and singing, jumping and clapping upon hearing pee pee or poo poo sounds. i am explaining how one pair of socks affect the whole family and i am saying stuff like, “maybe the princess doesn’t marry that prince and live happily ever after, maybe she pours herself into making her own business and wins an award for the charity work she does with her earnings.” but, like in wave training, i am not in it for the rousing “hear hear”. i am in it to see the beauty of the progress. it is stunning when you step back and feel the wind and watch really watch all that needs to come together for growth to happen and how breathtaking it is when that growth is on display.
is it okay to work to enjoy the process instead of working for a desired outcome? truth be told, i had little effect on the waves as they come and go as they please. i also may have much less control in bringing the desired outcomes to fruition in my loved ones lives than i believe. the gift, the joy, and the privilege may be wrapped in getting to be a part of their moments and their growing more than in my contribution to the outcome.