Sweet Freedom

This morning, readers, we host our favourite pub-landlady-turned-analytical-chemist Sandra, with her first piece for the blog. One part analytical chemist, one part wise owl and one part funny lady – this post is the very essence of Sange. 

It’s a timely reminder to not sweat the small stuff, though written in a way that has made me wistful for change. If you need me I’ll be reposing on a tropical beach somewhere… 


If you were a water molecule, where would you like to be? Do you know how amazing and unusual you are chemically? You exist on the earth in your three states together-crystalline ice, fluid water and energetic gas. Under ambient conditions. This is an exquisite equilibrium.

Racing down a gorge, white-water stylee?  Being a small part of an icy pool atop a mountain? Reposing near a tropical beach? Vapour arising from a sulphurous geyser? An integral part of a biochemical transformation? It’s all yours, my watery friend. But there’s a catch. You have no choice, sadly. You are at the mercy of Mother Nature and her temperature and pressure trade-off. There is no queue which you get to the head of and decide where you’d like to be. Oh no, siree.

Abel Tasman National Park, from the air (Sarah)

At some point in your life you’ll fall as rain. Will you fall on a temperate grassland and be incorporated into the infrastructure of a tree? Will you fall right back into the ocean to spend a bit of time following currents to some far-flung clime, only to be evaporated up into the clouds again? Or will you fall as rain onto a mountain and after what must seem like a never-ending journey, end up in an aquifer, the dark world of the underground water system on which us mere mortals depend? Not in a much imagined cavern, but making your way through the pores in the rock. Slowly, in response to elevation and pressure. If you’re in a permeable rock, you can travel up to a metre a day. You don’t want to be trapped in an impermeable one. Oh no.

The face of the Franz Josef Glacier, taken in the pouring rain (Sarah)

As you’re travelling along in your aquifer you may reach the top of the water table and emerge in a stream. Still moving, perhaps travelling up into the atmosphere at any point, depending on the temperature. It’s still all beautifully beyond your control, remember?

One of many beautiful spots, South Island, NZ (Sarah)

Remember what it was like to be young and to have life be beyond your control – every waking decision taken for you? As you gain in age and experience, you can revel in ‘making your own decisions’ and ‘thinking for yourself’. All of which are good, grown up (eek!) things which have been a long time coming for us ladies and which grow us as people.

It’s not always a good thing. It leaves us prone to relationship straining micro-management, endless anxiety about doing the right thing, or making the right choice. And it’s tiring. I’ve spent more energy than I care to mention agonising over the ‘right’ curtains, shoes, paint, job. It doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter.

Next time You. Cannot. Possibly. Choose, don’t try. Do both. Do neither. Try not to focus on making the ‘best’ choice, perhaps making the ‘least worst’ choice would be more appropriate. People will still love and cherish you. You’ll still be alive, the world will not have juddered to a halt. Just let stuff happen. Because it will, whether you want it to or not.

What matters is having friends and family to love and share times, good and bad. Having your health with which to be able to share those times. Sometimes letting stuff just happen to see where it takes you. Like the water. Sweet freedom.

You’ll be surprised where it might take you.

Categories: Life, Life Experience
14 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Becca
    Posted July 31, 2012 at 7:16 am | Permalink


  2. Posted July 31, 2012 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    What a timely post! Science is cool, I love how this whole idea of things being out of our control sits with my personal philosophy about life. We love you Sange.

  3. Posted July 31, 2012 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I just read this to my husband and his response was ‘COOL’

  4. Katielase
    Posted July 31, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I love this so much. Mostly because it is just the perfect message for me right now, but partly because I’m a bit obsessed with H2O, just a beautiful beautiful way to share this message.

    Thank you Sange.

    K x

  5. Posted July 31, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Oh Sange I love how you’ve tied this message together. I love how I started reading this post with no CLUE as to where it was going, but reading it anyway because i felt like a water molecule (not a sentence I thought I would ever type).

    I really needed to hear this at this point in my life. I’m a worrier, someone who stresses about making decisions, and often make decisions when I simply don’t have to. I always admire people who have the courage to let life carry them along a bit. I’m gonig to make a conscious effort to be less controlling of life and just let it live.

    I’m taking my spreadhseets with me, though.

  6. Katy W
    Posted July 31, 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Ooh I love this. Mr W is a hydrologist (which leads to lots of email conversations like this: Me “why is it raining soooooooooooo much?” Mr W: *emails picture of the water cycle. Again*) so I am going to send this over to him now. It’s also a timely reminder for us not to get too het up about a house move that is slipping out of our control. Well done Sange (also, excellent photos Sarah)

    • Posted July 31, 2012 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Good point…excellent photos, S! I hope we will see more!

  7. Samantha
    Posted July 31, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    This is AWESOME! Such beautiful imagery, so thought-provoking. Go Sange!

  8. Kate S
    Posted July 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Really great post Sange.

  9. Posted July 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I loved reading this post, Sange. I love how you manage to marry science with emotion.

    Your point about making the ‘least worst choice’ is something you’ve shared with me before and I’ve found it very useful when making a life changing decision recently, so thank you x

  10. Lexie
    Posted July 31, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Love this post, it’s made me feel all nice and calm!

  11. Sandra C
    Posted July 31, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Thank you all very much for your kind words-I’m glad it seems to have helped some of you! Thanks also for allowing me to share it. xx

  12. Jo S
    Posted July 31, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    What a great piece Sange, reading this made me just want to calm down!

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

More here.

image by Lucy Stendall Photography

Find me a random post