If You’re Rowing the Wrong Way, Get off the Boat

Life is an upstream battle.  Much like the salmon who swim upstream, against the current, to spawn every year, we are all like little salmon in that same stream, fighting amongst the crowds to get where we are going.  For some of us, our destination is a better job, an education, a family, or a business, while for others it is better health, a happier home, or our own way of life that no one else understands.  Everyone has a destination they are trying to reach, even if it doesn’t appear that a person does.  It may be as simple as somewhere to sleep tonight or a good hot meal, but everyone has some goal for the day.  It’s all part of survival.

Sometimes people in life are like the salmon, swimming along with you, with a common goal in mind.  Other times, people are like the rocks in the rapids, just sitting there, waiting until you bump into them, have to deal with them, and then you’re allowed to go on your way.  Just like you may get a bruised knee from the rocks, you may get a bruised ego from someone putting up a barrier in your way or helping your day to be not-so-great.  You just have to get right back up and keep on going.  You can’t forget your goal, after all, whatever that goal may be.

Some of us are in canoes, on top of the stream, not having to deal with the other salmon swimming our way, but still having to deal with the rocks, the limbs, and other things that the salmon never see, like rain.  The canoe people are probably those who trained for a good job, or those are happy with their state of life no matter what type of job they have.

Some of us are in airplanes or gliders, flying above it all, missing the limbs, but paying more in airline fuel to stay afloat so as to not dip back down into the canoe or salmon-infested waters.  Some people will never achieve this status, because they either just can’t get there, or because they just don’t want to.

I’m probably a canoe person.  I don’t know about you, but I’m really happy being a canoe person.  I’ve been a salmon person, and it was okay.  I could go back to being a salmon again tomorrow.  I have not forgotten working at a veterinary clinic in the summer heat, while going to college, scooping puppy poo for almost two years.  I have not forgotten being a secretary or a dispatcher at an electric company, being yelled at for someone else’s mistake.  I won’t forget, and because I won’t forget, I’ll never treat those who are salmon like they are lower than I am.

In my canoe, though, occasionally, there are people who, for whatever reason, don’t want to row upstream.  There are the same folks in the salmon category.  There may even be a few in the airplane category.  But, in my canoe, or in the salmon group or airplane group, at some point you have to push those people out of the boat, let them swim backward while you swim ahead, or toss them out of the airplane (to land safely, of course, in the water – no injuries or ill-will meant here).  If people are not rowing, swimming or flying with you, then they are dragging you down.  You’re not being mean when you tell them you can no longer allow them to pull you backwards. 

Perhaps these folks don’t have the same aspirations as you do.  Perhaps they are doing it out of jealousy or spite.  Perhaps they just don’t want to put forth the effort to swim against/fly against/paddle against the current.  The cool thing is that THAT IS FINE.  Let them go their own way, but don’t allow them to pull you backwards, away from where you want to be and back over a path you’ve already covered.  It’s simply not worth it, and it’s no good for either of you.

My advice is this:  If you are a salmon, swimming upstream, going the way you want to go and others want to swim the other way, let them.  Shake their hands, wave farewell, and keep swimming.  If you’re paddling the canoe against the current and you want to keep paddling, yet others are paddling opposite of your goal, make them get out.  Wait until you’re over the rocks, but make them get out and swim with the salmon.  If you’re lucky enough to be flying an airplane, above it all, and others want to fly the other way, shove them out (with a parachute, over a wide area of the river), and let them hitch a ride in a canoe or swim with the salmon.  The point is that when someone is dragging you down, it’s time to let them go.

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