Lessons Learned from The Reef: Defend Your Cave

Emperor Maximus Angryfish was the first finned resident of my little reef.

11B Max closeup

From Day 1, he established himself as the king of all he surveyed.

As time went on, and other inhabitants joined him, Max had to accept that his territory dwindled from “everything the light touches” to “this cave, this rock, this place that I call my own.”

13L24 Max

Max accepted this lesson with varying levels of grace, depending on the moment and the interloper in question.

13I15 Max Emo 3

However, Max has gradually learned to co-exist with the other tank inhabitants, provided that they respect the proper boundaries. 

Wherein lies a lesson for us all.

Max has no natural predators on this reef–unlike the real world, where some “fish” will not play nicely. If a real predator showed up, Max might have to move, and he’d be smart to do it before the threat became a serious danger.

That said, within the “safer” reefs of a person’s home environment, it’s important to find a space that each of us can call his own. Even for children, personal space is important. Everyone should have a spot, if only a chair or a cozy corner, where he or she can retreat to think, to read, or to create. That spot deserves respect.

Personal space is important because it gives us the physical and psychological room we need to create and maintain our creative identities. Some people find creative release through art, while others prefer to construct, or invent, or read. Some people find their peace in thinking. Some people like to make noise.

Regardless of the use to which we put our creative spaces, we could all take a lesson or two from Max when it comes to protecting that space and the need to use it. We don’t need to be aggressive, but sometimes we need to be firm to help the people around us understand that the time and space we spend in our “caves” can help us become more productive, and happier, citizens of our own individual reefs.

14C11 Max on reef

Do you have a special creative space? What do you use it for?