Sink or Swim

Everyone reaches that deciding moment where their options are as follows:

  • sink
  • swim

Please fill in the bubble clearly with a dark mark and #2 pencil, pass your test in at the end of the period.


Okay, kidding aside. How do you know when a decision is one worth making? When does taking a leap of faith in yourself become more than the words “leap of faith”, and transform into an actual action?

Junior year is pegged to be the hardest academically. I say: Bring it on. Among college tours, homework, martial arts, band, jazz band, marching band, anything music related, and the German Exchange Program, my first two months of this school year have been anything but settling. I haven’t felt the unbearable stresses (yet!), which isn’t to say they won’t arise at some point in the near future, but I’m kissing the ground my teachers walk on for the time being.

And then there’s the future, that has presented itself as an inevitable force against all odds. Living in a suburb in middle class America, the natural order of operations is as follows: elementary school, middle school, high school, college, stable and steady career. Calvinistic principles applied, it would seem I’m destined for greatness, right?

Well, I’m here with breaking news! Are you ready for this? Fasten your seat belts, folks! The societal expectations we follow or wriggle free from lie solely in our minds. We truly are confined to what we think of ourselves. It took me too long to overcome my fear of judgement, and tell my mother that teaching English in a developing nation seemed more appealing than attending college right after high school. And while this discussion was cathartic for me, it shocked me that the world’s tilt went undisturbed simply because I wanted to break free from the mold of conformity and live my own life. This is not to say that I won’t attend college, because I will, and it will be four of the most positive years of my life. But I want to attend college when I know I can appreciate the value of a great education, surrounded by people with worldly experiences similar to my own. I will get there, but in my own time. I have a few things to accomplish for myself first. 😉

Another thing guys, wait. Just wait. I read a blog post on “10 Things You Must Let Go Of Today” and number 10 was Time: Stop focusing on the clock. In today’s modern world everything we do revolves around time. Time for work, time for dinner, time for meetings, calls, and rest. Outside of work let go of the time restraints and simply do what feels right for you, stop living life by the minute and start living the life you want.

Who’s to say if I’ll be successful in what I set out to do? My whole life I’ve been an independent, and when most kids receive the “Sink or Swim” speech, I’ll have had the concept mulling around in my mind for close to ten years.

We don’t determine when it’s time to sink or swim. No, we don’t. The big moments are going to happen. But define for me success. Define for yourself failure. And together we’ll reach an understanding. Because the concept of “sink or swim” is merely a matter of perception.


5 responses to “Sink or Swim

  1. Hey Mandi! Enjoying your posts – keep ’em coming. You asked for reader thoughts/feedback. Here’s a thought I had: if one is faced with a sink or swim moment in life, it wouldn’t be a “decision worth making”, since, by definition, a decision must be made. It’s a matter of which option to take. A matter of perception as to how those 2 paths are defined, as you said. But indecision is not an option. Food for thought. 🙂

  2. Stunning, enlightening post — as always. Thanks for allowing us into your world.

  3. two words, pride and love. interperet them as you wish.

  4. You are so very right and so accurately tuned in it astounds me or should say impresses me to the point of astonishment Keep listening to that voice within you..

  5. Richard Bibbins

    Hey Mandi – I found this after my other post – enjoy!

    One of my personal discoveries has been that noone can define success for someone else. But the person who doesn’t define success for themself – success for this year, for 5 years, for a new career goal, whatever – is guaranteed never to attain it.



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