January 4, 2022

Life on the Edge

Nate LeBlanc

Hello readers! As many of us take some time to reflect upon the beginning of a new year, I’d like to share some thoughts I had while back in California visiting my family and seeing my newborn niece for the first time! She’s an absolute joy to behold!

A much needed trip to the beach

Among the other things I got to do was take a trip to Seal Beach - probably the beach I visited most often as a child - with my parents. At the far end of the pier, I heard a man on the very edge belting out beautiful operatic renditions of traditional hymns into the vastness of the ocean. It was a profoundly moving moment for my mother (whose manager graciously approved her last minute day-off request). “He’s clearly trained in singing,” she told us, noting his stance and the quality of his voice. She loved that he was just out being himself, not performing, but doing something that clearly moved his heart.

Pier at Seal Beach, California


My mother’s sentiment struck a chord with me as I remembered some prior crucial personal moments on piers throughout my life, even though the beach isn’t one of my favorite places in the world (I know I’m a bad Californian. I just hate sand. It’s coarse and it gets everywhere). Those special moments include lessons in responsibility from my father and grandfather, the maturation of a once tense relationship with my brother, and the resolve to redouble my efforts in study for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), among others. Another place I tend to have deep thoughts and feelings is  under a dark and starry sky, especially during an eclipse or meteor shower.

What lies beyond the horizon?

For me, it’s nearly impossible to stare out into the void of space or the ocean and not think, “There’s got to be more out there.” More than we can see. More than we can feel. More than we can understand. And being confronted with that tends to draw me forward.

We all do that, in one sense or another. All of us - scientists, artists, theologians, philosophers, athletes, storytellers, teachers, professionals, entrepreneurs, skilled tradesmen, service workers, parents, sons and daughters - probe ever deeper and farther into the depths of our humanity and our universe asking questions and seeking the answers. It’s a human universal to search for more than we know and become more than we are in the present moment.

So what is it about the edge and staring into the vast unknown that stirs the spirit to see the world in a new light? 400 years ago, the English poet Thomas Ahearne wrote, “You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins.”

Putting things into perspective

A possible interpretation of this quote could be, “The vastness gives us the perspective to enjoy the little things and put them in their proper place.” Maybe recognizing the magnitude of what lies outside our knowledge and experience does something to put our lives into perspective. Maybe seeing ME in my smallness helps me to recognize the little things I agonize over might not be that important in the long run.

Looking out into the beyond


Even though a trek into the unknown can be scary and presents us with several dangers (yeah sharks, giant squid, killer asteroids and the lack of a breathable atmosphere, I’m talking about you), I cannot help but be filled with comfort and hope out on the edge, dreaming about what else is out there.

Discovering the edge

As we walked back along the pier towards the snow-capped SoCal mountains framed by sand and palm trees, I resolved in my heart to live in my smallness and continually recognize that there is more out there. More to see. More to feel. More to Understand. To achieve this means living life on the edge wherever I find myself. Whether it’s the edge of the ocean, the edge of my knowledge, the edge of my emotions, I am most authentic when I explore and grow in the ways that deepen my understanding of myself and the world. By most accounts, I hear that others do too.

Now maybe the pier or a treeless hilltop on a starlit night aren’t the places that fill you with wonder and awe. After all, there are many frontiers of the human experience and many places to grow. Wherever that place is for you, however bold you find comfortable, don’t be afraid to spend some time looking over the edge. It’s the only way to know what wonders await us.

Looking back to snow-capped mountains in Southern California



The artist, Ivy, has a song called Edge of the Ocean that encompasses everything about what time out on the water means to me. It must mean the same to her too, so maybe there’s something to it. If you have time, take a listen.

Post Summary

Our very own, Nate LeBlanc, takes some time to reflect on a recent trip back home to Southern California

This article was written, edited and published by members or collaborators of the Doorward Team. Doorward Inc. maintains a positive outlook on the inherent dignity of each: their singular ability to reason and create, to choose and likewise be responsible for their decisions. We defend their best intentions and affirm each person’s freedom to express their own thoughts and opinions and experiences, and to engage in civil discussion regarding them.

This article is meant to be thought-provoking, and is not intended to be specific direction for the topic of this post. Please do your own research and consult the appropriate people for guidance before making a decision related to the topic of this post.

Hello readers! As many of us take some time to reflect upon the beginning of a new year, I’d like to share some thoughts I had while back in California visiting my family and seeing my newborn niece for the first time! She’s an absolute joy to behold!

A much needed trip to the beach

Among the other things I got to do was take a trip to Seal Beach - probably the beach I visited most often as a child - with my parents. At the far end of the pier, I heard a man on the very edge belting out beautiful operatic renditions of traditional hymns into the vastness of the ocean. It was a profoundly moving moment for my mother (whose manager graciously approved her last minute day-off request). “He’s clearly trained in singing,” she told us, noting his stance and the quality of his voice. She loved that he was just out being himself, not performing, but doing something that clearly moved his heart.

Pier at Seal Beach, California


My mother’s sentiment struck a chord with me as I remembered some prior crucial personal moments on piers throughout my life, even though the beach isn’t one of my favorite places in the world (I know I’m a bad Californian. I just hate sand. It’s coarse and it gets everywhere). Those special moments include lessons in responsibility from my father and grandfather, the maturation of a once tense relationship with my brother, and the resolve to redouble my efforts in study for the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), among others. Another place I tend to have deep thoughts and feelings is  under a dark and starry sky, especially during an eclipse or meteor shower.

What lies beyond the horizon?

For me, it’s nearly impossible to stare out into the void of space or the ocean and not think, “There’s got to be more out there.” More than we can see. More than we can feel. More than we can understand. And being confronted with that tends to draw me forward.

We all do that, in one sense or another. All of us - scientists, artists, theologians, philosophers, athletes, storytellers, teachers, professionals, entrepreneurs, skilled tradesmen, service workers, parents, sons and daughters - probe ever deeper and farther into the depths of our humanity and our universe asking questions and seeking the answers. It’s a human universal to search for more than we know and become more than we are in the present moment.

So what is it about the edge and staring into the vast unknown that stirs the spirit to see the world in a new light? 400 years ago, the English poet Thomas Ahearne wrote, “You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins.”

Putting things into perspective

A possible interpretation of this quote could be, “The vastness gives us the perspective to enjoy the little things and put them in their proper place.” Maybe recognizing the magnitude of what lies outside our knowledge and experience does something to put our lives into perspective. Maybe seeing ME in my smallness helps me to recognize the little things I agonize over might not be that important in the long run.

Looking out into the beyond


Even though a trek into the unknown can be scary and presents us with several dangers (yeah sharks, giant squid, killer asteroids and the lack of a breathable atmosphere, I’m talking about you), I cannot help but be filled with comfort and hope out on the edge, dreaming about what else is out there.

Discovering the edge

As we walked back along the pier towards the snow-capped SoCal mountains framed by sand and palm trees, I resolved in my heart to live in my smallness and continually recognize that there is more out there. More to see. More to feel. More to Understand. To achieve this means living life on the edge wherever I find myself. Whether it’s the edge of the ocean, the edge of my knowledge, the edge of my emotions, I am most authentic when I explore and grow in the ways that deepen my understanding of myself and the world. By most accounts, I hear that others do too.

Now maybe the pier or a treeless hilltop on a starlit night aren’t the places that fill you with wonder and awe. After all, there are many frontiers of the human experience and many places to grow. Wherever that place is for you, however bold you find comfortable, don’t be afraid to spend some time looking over the edge. It’s the only way to know what wonders await us.

Looking back to snow-capped mountains in Southern California



The artist, Ivy, has a song called Edge of the Ocean that encompasses everything about what time out on the water means to me. It must mean the same to her too, so maybe there’s something to it. If you have time, take a listen.

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