The story I find most interesting about such bottles, though, comes from an experiment when two bottles were dropped off the Brazilian coast simultaneously. One drifted east, washing up one hundred and thirty days later off the coast of Africa. The other drifted northwest, landing in Nicaragua one hundred and ninety days later. They started in exactly the same place. They ended up half a world away from each other.
Have you ever been misty-eyed at a wedding, knowing that this couple was perfectly compatible and would last forever, only to be blown away fifteen years later by the divorce announcement? How did that happen? How can two people who were so close end up so far apart?
It happens little by little, wave by wave, as different currents catch you. One night he staggers home from work, exhausted, and instead of eating at the table with her, he grabs dinner, puts his feet up, and watches TV. She’s tired, too, so after the kids go to bed she retreats into the study to surf internet blogs. A few more times that week they recreate the scene, and soon it’s become the evening routine. Once couples stop communicating, laughing, and sharing, then the only thing that binds them together is the children. And eventually children aren’t enough.
Young adults are today’s quintessential drifters. About 30% of twenty-somethings still live at home, hanging out in their parents’ basement, not pursuing career plans because they’re enjoying the carefree life of computers and video games. Eventually real life will sort itself out, right? Wrong. In those drifting years, they’re missing out on valuable time when they could be saving for a downpayment, increasing their marketable skills, or building meaningful relationships. Drifting is preventing real life—adult life—from arriving.
Summer is a time to relax, and most of us desperately need it. But in your relaxation, don’t drift. Instead, take the time to plan. Go for walks in the beautiful sunshine and figure out what’s important to you. What is your purpose here? What are you aiming for? How are you going to get there? Since we can’t drift towards happiness, we had better start being more deliberate about it.