The other day, one of my guy friends told my son that he is like a shark, and that “sharks constantly have to stay in motion so that they don’t sink.” Hilarious advice from one of the best sharks I’ve ever met, and yet in my opinion he missed the mark here. It is my experience that people stay in constant motion precisely because internally they have an issue with just being still. Often I find that those that are always on the go are either avoiding thoughts about the past or they are way too anxious about the future, and so they are running around like chickens with their heads cut off most of the time, not taking a moment to just breath and enjoy the peace, quiet and beauty of their current surroundings.
How do I know all of this? Because I was once a shark in constant motion, and only in the last decade have I mellowed and come to enjoy downtime. It is my son that has calmed me down, and because of him I learned to appreciate the simple joys in life, like his laughter. Of course, seeing this softer side has thrown some of my shark friends for a loop. I get it– how could they ever understand that one of the best gamers has opted out of the games both at work and at home? Well, a lot had to do with the realization that DC’s shark tank isn’t a safe place to raise a guppy.
My attitude shift towards becoming a more peaceful warrior did not happen overnight, but slowly over the past 8 years in my post-divorce life, I have had to re-evaluate everything. I’ve had to give up attachments to a lot of things, not just tangible items, and question deeply seeded notions of what people define as mainstream “success.”
Professionally, after 15 years of litigating some of the worst divorces in town I’ve grown tired of feeling like Macbeth with my hands covered in blood. As I’ve continued to develop a more hollistic approach to divorce in my work life, it has gently taken hold in my personal life as well, which is why many of my friends were not at all surprised this summer to see me reading such books as Buddism for Beginners, The Four Agreements, The Laws of Spirits, and the Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
It is a difficult process to let go and find the courage to live your own life, and no one can tell you the exact path your journey will take or how long it will be before you find your way to true freedom, but the experience is amazing and one that many have written about extensively to provide others with inspiration. This blog is my humble effort to share some of my own stories so that others may find their own way over time. But in the meantime, let’s be real. There will always be sharks out there, and many will remain sharks forever, so unless I want to leave the shark tank, I have to come to peace with their true nature, and luckily I have.
Both on and off the clock, I still swim with sharks every day. Truth be told, I’ve grown up with them my whole life, so I get them and I actually like them– I love their brilliant minds, energy and power. Professionally, I respect them and in the dating world, well let’s just say I find them hilarious. Always on the move- these sharks are some of the best story tellers around! I just have to make sure to keep my guppy out of the shark infested waters– that may be mommy’s playground but not his.
Even certain grown ups should stay out of the shark tank. Swimming with sharks is not for the feeble, that’s for sure. While those sharks whiz by you, you have to stay centered and be true to yourself. It’s easy to get thrown off kilter and get caught up with the constant motion of those around you, but you need to keep in mind that it is okay to take a break, go at your own pace and make your own rules.
One last thing I’ll say about swimming with sharks: They are dangerous creatures that can’t be tamed by others, and that fact will not change. So, every now and then, you may want to find a dingy in the dating world that can appreciate you physically as a human being and not a killing machine. It’s totally okay to do that– just don’t confuse a dingy with a life boat!
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.