And/and versus Either/or

Posted by Jacinta Hin on January 14, 2007

I set my alarm clock for 700am this Sunday morning to go windsurfing. I had even prepared breakfast the night before and figured out the bus times that would get me from my country house to the surf beach in the shortest possible time. I was all set.

Then I woke up around 530am in the middle of the worst surf nightmare to date (I have had quite a few recently). Despite meters of high waves flooding the land, hundreds of people (no idea where they came from) continued to get on their surfs only to be engulfed by the water, not to be seen again. I was very concerned by what was happening and busy advising a first-timer to stay in the safe (close to land) areas, while trying to connect with my club members who were having fun and simply ignoring me.

I ended up staying at home on Sunday.

I opted to use the day to write a long-due article and catch up with my emails. I had a really good day, writing the article that has been in my head all week and over 50 emails.

The question on my mind today was if I used the long-due article as an excuse not to go surfing or if I did what made most sense to do.

The fact is that I planned to go surfing for the first time without my surf buddy Pieter who was away for a ski weekend.

Fact is also I cannot get my own gear ready without his (or somebody’s) help, and that I have been struggling with plenty of water and wind fears recently. The northern winter winds tend to be hard and ruthless.

Another fact is that I have been procrastinating in my writing and in dire need to get something on paper and published.

So two truths were at play today. I had an opportunity to write an article and I had an opportunity to face my windsurf fears.

The nightmare was pretty disturbing and the article felt like it was ready for birth. The computer was a 3 meter walk, the beach an hour drive.

I wrote the article and thought about the deeper meaning of my dream throughout the day.

I also decided that it does not matter which activity I choose. Both are important to me. I could write my article today and I can go surfing another day. I realized I can go for the and/and scenario and have it all. I do not need to feel bad I did not surf today or that I failed in anyway. I have not lost anything.

I realized the and/and scenario often makes more sense than the either/or one.

For a long time I felt torn between a desire to be in my home country and to be in Japan. I miss my family, my roots, my old friends and the Dutch way of life. I miss the language and the food. Yet I love my life in Japan, where I have my home, enjoy the international life, meeting new people all the time, the dynamics of the east/west mixture and being in one of the biggest cities in the world.

For a while I thought I needed to choose, the either/or way.

Now I believe I can have them both.

Today I confirmed again that and/and is entirely possible if we don’t judge the one against the other.

I finished an article, updated my blog and decided to book a couple of surf lessons to deal with the going-alone fear.

Not a bad result for a lazy Sunday.

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