Swim Sideways

I'm a relentless optimist. The glass is always half full, the sun will come out tomorrow and if life hands you lemons, make lemon cake.

But this winter, man. It's beaten me to the ground. Our temps won't climb out of the 40s, the snow melt is achingly slow, the lakes are still iced over and nothing is growing except our discontent.

And now we're looking at a freak snowstorm that could dump as much as 12 inches of spring slush on us the next few days.

Winter, you win.


One of the first skills I picked up when Corey and I moved to San Diego was how to survive a rip current, also known as a rip tide.

Rip currents are invisible areas next to the coast where, for many reasons, the water flows out instead of in. It will look like the waves are rolling toward the shore, but the undercurrent will pull a swimmer or surfer away from the coast, out to the open sea.

Most people, when they realize they are being pulled by an invisible force away from the place where they want to go, start to fight like mad. They swim fiercely toward the sand, eventually exhausting their energy in a hopeless endeavor. More than 80% of a rescues performed by ocean lifeguards involve people caught in rip currents.

The solution to this catastrophe is simple: Swim sideways. Don't try to fight the current. Swim parallel to shore, and eventually, you'll escape the danger zone and be able to get where you want to go.


So if you see me later this week and I'm doing this:

Just know: Kelly is swimming sideways.

Or if you hear that I'm feeding my kids ice cream for dinner, just say to yourself: Swimming sideways.

Or if you see my minivan driving around town like this:

Swimming sideways.

And zen with it.

It's the only way to survive.


Maybe you're dealing with an April snowstorm too. An unrelenting winter. Maybe it's literal. Maybe not. Maybe it's a spouse who's in a thick season of work. Maybe you feel adrift in life, without mooring and filled with a heavy load of doubt. Maybe you're grappling everyday with an illness that isn't critical but that saps you of joy, nonetheless. Maybe you have a child who's struggling to find their bearing.

To you, I say this: Swim sideways.

Spring is coming.


  1. There's a reason I moved away from Illinois. :)

    Great philosophy all around, Kelly.

  2. Oh, that's good. And I love those pictures!! But I'm with ya on the winter thing. Uncle, already!

  3. As the old song from the Texas musical at Palo Duro Canyon says, "We invite you all to come to Texas!"

    Love this! I've been swimming sideways for about the last 4 months and it has nothing to do with the weather.

  4. Love this. So much wisdom here- seriously. I will be rereading this in the weeks ahead I think!