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Riptides

By Katie Kohlbeck

MON SEP 23, 2019

For those who grow up next to the water, learning to swim is a natural and necessary skill, especially if you find yourself caught in a riptide.

I was thinking about this recently. Not because I’m thinking about going for a swim in the ocean anytime soon (sadly) but rather how getting out of a riptide is similar to anytime we’re faced with a challenge or going through a period of struggle.

As I pondered riptides, I realized I wasn’t entirely certain of the mechanics of these magnificently strong currents, or how you get out of one. I enlisted an expert on the matter — my fella, who grew up in Darwin, Australia and who is well-acquainted with the ways of the waves. “What should you actually do if you get caught in a riptide,” I asked.

“Don’t swim against it,” he said immediately. He paused, then added, “You should actually try to swim diagonally.”

I considered this for a moment. “But what if you try to swim against the riptide?”

He shrugged as if the answer was obvious. “You’ll tire yourself out.”

I let that sink in. Swim against the riptide and you’re sure to tire yourself out. Give into the riptide and you risk being carried out to sea.

Life is full of riptides. It’s the one thing we can count on but we have the tools to navigate them. Next time you’re caught in a riptide (figuratively or literally), don’t tire yourself out by swimming against it nor let yourself get swept away from the shore. Breathe, remain calm, then swim diagonally.