Since 2013, when my divorce became official, I have been living on the edge. It is my edge. A sort of no-mans land. This edge separates a life of crippling dependencies and false securities from…well, something else. I say something else because, much like any journey, we really never quite know what our destination will be like until we get there. We all have our ‘edges’ to navigate in life, each with its own set of unique challenges. And we all receive help along the way, but more often than not, we are forced to do most of the navigation ourselves. In fact, we cannot cross over into the next threshold of life without doing the necessary and hard work required.

While writing these words, I am spending 12 days alone in a small apartment on the Red Sea. I enjoy a grand vista of the sea below. All around me are similar apartment units, almost all shuttered and empty, except for the odd weekend vacationers here and there. Mostly, I enjoy total silence, hearing only the singing of birds carried on the sea breeze. As part of this resort, there are 13 swimming pools strategically placed in between the apartment rows. One of the pools is being repaired at the moment. That leaves 12 swimming pools, fully operational and cleaned daily by the ‘lifeguard’…all for my singular pleasure.

While reading a section of the book ‘Living On The Edge:Breaking Through instead of Breaking Down’ (Elizabeth McCormick), I had the sense that possibly, there was something to be seen in this moment. I was prompted by the author to imagine my own image for ‘living on the edge’. Without too much deliberation, I fell upon an image out of my childhood. One which I knew well: the edge of the swimming pool.

As a child growing up in West Africa, one of the most favoured activities was an afternoon at the pool. Any pool. It was a place to join other families, mingle with other kids and basically frolic in the sun without a care in the world. Being a tropical climate, the temperature of the water was generally comfortable. Either way, the water worked like a kid-magnet with a constant jumping in and climbing out the whole day long. Except for me. I spent most of my time on the edge of the pool, longing to be in there with the rest, but never quite daring. Instead I spent my time running circles around the pool, avoiding the occasional attempts to push me in. It was a game of sorts, but one played out of necessity.

I have always had a dislike of cold water, but also a fear of the deep. Some part of me must have known that if all the other children were swimming happily in the pool, it couldn’t be as bad as all that. Yet, there I stood, blocked by my fears. I always made the best of it, insisted that I just didn’t want to go in, yet I remember also feeling a tinge of jealousy towards the rest. Also, there were certainly times when I did feel comfortable enough to jump in and many of my happy memories are connected to swimming pools. Moving forward, this image of a child running around the edge of a pool may prove helpful.