There are few things more beautiful and calming that the sight of a pair of swans gliding upon a glassy lake. That was the sight that greeted me on my walk this morning. But instead of being calmed, I felt somehow sad and frustrated. My life is in transition, there are so many ups and downs, and sometimes it feels like such a struggle. How come those swans get to just glide through life effortlessly and without a care in the world? And why do some people seem to have it so easy, with a clear path and certain knowledge of their goals, as well as the means to achieve them? With those thoughts, I started to slide down the dark road that is envy. Not a good place to be.
Then it suddenly occurred to me that I was only seeing half of the picture. What I was not seeing when I watched the swans was what was going on beneath the surface. For all I know, those swans were paddling madly, legs flailing in all directions, frantically adjusting to unseen currents beneath the placid surface. (I actually tried to find footage of swans underwater, but I kept being directed to a British post-punk rock band – who aren’t bad, by the way.) The point is, we never really know how much effort goes into what can appear to be a smooth and easy life. And furthermore, just as those swans were probably unaware of the elegance and grace of their passing, we probably don’t realize how enviable and easy our lives may appear to others – even when we’re frantically paddling as hard as we can.
Not a huge or life-changing revelation, but it put my mind at ease, and allowed me to enjoy the beauty of swans on a quiet morning.