Life must be simpler when you have one overriding goal in it. Even when you’re in love, aka that initial lust that accompanies new relationships, it’s enough to take you out of yourself and HAVE A FOCUS ON SOMETHING.
As a college student I had lots of dreams about being adrift at sea on a surfboard, trying to catch waves but usually being unable to. There just weren’t waves in most cases, or perhaps I was a beginner who didn’t know how to get waves. I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up in college and no amount of forcing would make me know. There was one dream during that period where I did catch some waves, and it was good but strange. And that’s the only one I remember where I actually surfed in my dream.
The dreams of literally drifting went away after I got married and had kids. I also stopped surfing for a while, but the past two years have been my most regular surf years so far. As my surfing has improved, so has life, in a way. Or is it the other way around?
Recently I dreamt that I caught a long wave, the longest wave I’ve ever ridden. It was on a surf mat. I might have made to stand up towards the end of the wave, which is something you don’t usually do on a surf mat. But it was an exhilarating dream and I got some stoke every time I thought about it.
Being on a wave is simple. The actual mechanics of a breaking wave and the physics involved in riding one are pretty damn complex. But for the rider, there’s arguably nothing purer in the realm of physical experience. An experienced surfer knows the difficulties that often overwhelm someone new to the activity. The exertion of paddling out, the vigilance required, and the interaction of body and heaving water are all known variables. The good surfer knows to stay as relaxed as possible while engaged in physical activity challenges even relatively fit non-surfers. The surfer can roll with the punches, or the waves in this case. There’s less struggle against the will of the waves- a lesson that is best learned early on. So a surfer in good sized waves deals with all these challenges that can seem downright impossible to overcome to the uninitiated.
It doesn’t stop with the paddle out, as knowledge and skill are required to catch and ride the waves too. This is the part that people focus on, and the only part that non surfers are usually aware of. Everyone imagines the “reward”- the ride. And a reward it is. It’s better than money, fame, and can be better than sex, too. And on the surface, it’s simple as can be. Get in lineup, catch wave, ride wave.
You can’t live in the water, though. So what to do with life on dry land? I am trying to find surfing’s equivalent here, and I may have found it in terms of environmental stewardship, permaculture, and all that good stuff. But meanwhile I work at a 9-5 office job. Right now I’m researching, trying some stuff out. It’s like making a foray into surfing- you try it, see how hard it is, try it again because it’s so magical. Then one day, years later for some, you are finally a surfer. I hope to get “wet” soon in my dry life on land.