Today an activity in my class involved coloring. One student was being particularly whiny and was complaining about how 'stressful' it is to color. I couldn't help but respond with a typical adult response. "You know there are kids in the world your age, somewhere in the world right now, who are spending their day simply trying to find water. I'm pretty sure that's stressful. Coloring? Not so much." Like the typical 13 year old he shrugged his shoulders, and went on to justify that sure, it didn't compare, but it's so hard to hold crayons. You know?
While the sentiment was lost on him, it wasn't on me. I realized I needed to take a dose of my own medicine. It is so easy for me to get caught up in the everyday annoyances of modern, privileged life that I forget that these are privileges...things that, in the long run, don't matter. That honestly, at the end of the day. the reality that I have consistent and reliable access to clean water matters...but I don't give it much (if ever any) credence, and that the 'stresses' in my life pale in comparison to the reality that much of the world does not have that luxury.
It also made me think of the roles water has played in my life: the calming effect the ocean has on me, particularly when I can run besides it, days and nights of summer spent in my community and friends' pools, the relief of water stations during a race, the reassurance of waking an older sibling or a parent in the middle of the night for a glass of water...it's fundamental role in our lives makes it easy to ignore, or to become part of the background, but it's the fact that it does, in fact, play a fundamental role in our lives that makes it something we should be thankful for.
"The cure for anything is salt water...sweat, tears, or the sea." - Isak Dinesen