Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Delaying Drowning by Treading Water and the Problem With Analogies

Last week I wrote about treading water and several of you made thought provoking comments.  June pointed out to me that I am probably "drifting happily," and Kate and Dan thought that I was not so much treading water as going with the flow.  Several others encouraged me to enjoy the ride of retirement because this freedom may be fleeting. 

Then I found an article on another website called Treading Water Only Delays Drowning.  It's a blog for "personal development for polymaths."  Being a polymath myself, I, of course, read the article.  (Okay, I lied. I had no idea what a polymath is.  I looked it up.  According to Wikipdia it is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas.)

The article made some good points.  For example, if you spend much time treading water, eventually you will grow tired and cold and will lose the ability to swim to shore.  You will drown. 

As a teacher I always made use of analogies.  It helps students remember new information if you can tie it in their minds to something that they already understand.  The challenge is in finding the analogy that rings true.  The problem with using treading water as an analogy is that all of the interpretations are valid.  The analogy is too simplistic.  And maybe that's what I've learned from this discussion.

All of our decisions and actions need to be analyzed holistically.  Too often the flow chart of our life doesn't have a Yes/No response but an "It depends."

I do need to spend some time on long-term goals, but I am enjoying the float.  I am not floundering and the water is warm.  I can stand up at any time and walk to shore.  I'll be well-rested and ready to go if an opportunity presents itself.


  1. Enjoy the new found freedom. You'll find your balance and lose the guilt soon enough.

  2. Like I said in one of my post a bit back in the past -- water warm enough to enjoy for more than a few minutes but cool enough to leave you feeling charged and refreshed -- or something similar to that. I think you found your good swimming hole.

    Have fun with it.

  3. If treading water for too long will make a person drown, then I vote for floating.
    Nobody ever died from patience.


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