by Dan Warren
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”
Passage from T.S. Elliot’s “Little Giddings”
When my father shared this passage with me it stuck me as quite foreign.
Maybe because I was quite young at the time.
I thought to myself “I’ll Never Stop Exploring.”
Years later I came across it again and it strikes me now with a resigning note in my heart.
Elliott was simply talking about phases of life that we pass through which are carved out of our own individual, unique experiences.
It is my interpretation that Elliot, figuratively and literally, suggest that as we evolve as human beings it is not so much people and places that change, as ourselves. Our experiences change us and allow us to see once familiar places, things and people in a different light. Sometimes this enlightenment is revealing, sometimes wonderful and sometimes jaded – but different just the same compared to how we remember them.
It’s like going back to your old High School for a football game after you’ve gotten married, raised kids, and faced more than a few bumps in the road. Your surroundings seem foreign… yet eerily familiar.
This passage can also be quite apropos to the field of Aquatics Risk Management. Those in senior positions are usually guards who worked their way up the chain of command. Now we find ourselves working with budgets and pressing deadlines and it’s really hard to accurately remember the fun filled summers of “riding the stand”. Carefree days have given way to the reality of just how serious this job is, and the level of commitment needed to effectively Guard Peoples Lives.
Today when I look at a lifeguard stand and try to imagine myself sitting in it at 17 — it’s truly next to impossible.
The boy I see in my vision, and the man standing there staring at him are total strangers / worlds apart.
The tremendous dedication and inexhaustible resolve that it takes to continuously reach and develop these kids / guards is admirable.
I know many of my staff resemble me at 17… and I know – I’ve got my work cut out for me.
My first job was lifeguarding; it is the place where I started…