We’re All Just Swimming Home

Seven months ago, my home burned down in a fast-moving wildfire fueled by dry grasslands and winds of unknowable speeds. It was the day before many would ring in 2022 and a foot of snow would blanket the earth. Winter in Colorado.

And as we welcomed in a new year, life dropped me and so many others in the center of the open ocean and said, Swim. It was lonely, dark, and sometimes devastating. But I did as life asked—I swam. Sometimes treading water, the distance minimal, barely measurable. Sometimes swallowing a wave, gulping in air between gargled breaths, convinced this sort of journey wasn’t for tired minds like mine. Occasionally finding my bearings, carving confidently, eyes on the sand and civilization.

I reached shore. Relief. Exhaustion. Gratitude.

Because my friends airdropped life vests from the skies above. Because my family rowed alongside me through the darkest hours of the night. Their paddle strokes a soothing soundtrack when the water went quiet and my mind got too loud. Because my community cheered from shore. Daily parades of hope. Because I made a dedicated choice to swim

Here is what I want to tell you: If you’re standing on the shoreline, turn around and look for those still swimming. Root like hell for them. Light up the route. Decorate the coast with warm meals and oversized towels, ready for their arrival. Please, don’t look away. 

And if you’re out there swimming, take a moment to lift your head and look around. Take the help. It isn’t weak, it’s smart. Listen closely for the cheers, the music, the optimism. Hopefully the loudest voice is your own. But if it’s not, there are boats that specialize in pulling people out of stormy waters. They’re called psychologists and we’d love to get you home.