A Lesson From Sharks

When I was a child, I used to be in love with sharks. I read about them in libraries, watched various shows and documentaries—I even imagined swimming around with them. Now, this might seem strange, as we are taught and eventually learn that sharks are these fearsome creatures, but something about them interested me.

I didn’t care that they could rip me apart or that their sandpaper skin could cut my finger. No. I was amazed at their skeletal structure, how they stood near the top of the ocean’s food chain, and how they had the will to survive for more than a millenia.

One of my favorite general myths, and one that I personally believed, about sharks is that they must always be on the move. For if they stop, they will eventually die. And while this might be true for some species of sharks, this is not the case for others. Some sharks can stop swimming whenever they want.

In this sense, humans are similar to sharks. We are often met with the phrase “Life is a marathon” or “Just keep moving” when we’re met with some form of resistance. These cliches are said with the hope that we will be able to properly navigate through the obstacles and pain. Hiding behind these words is the belief that there is a light at the end of a dark tunnel—as long as we keep pushing forward.

And while that is true, I believe that we can take another page out of a shark’s book: we can choose to rest. Like an angel shark buried in the sand, we can find a hiding place, too. We are allowed to stop right where we are and allow our emotions to come crashing over us until all the negativity has been washed away. Then, once we’ve felt all that we needed to, we can start moving forward once again.

Now, I know that sharks might seem scary and unapproachable, but just like us, they are trying their very best to survive.

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