What Surfing Reminded Me About Life

What Surfing Reminded Me About Life

“Eyes on the beach.”There's a reason that surfing has a loyal and zen like following. Surfing will teach you all about life; if you let it.  Check it out at Hey Little Rebel.

Luckily the beach happened to be the biggest thing in my line of vision, easy enough.

I was lying flat on my stomach on a borrowed surfboard in the pacific ocean feeling all sorts of anxiety. I had never surfed before but since we were honeymooning in Hawaii– we HAD to do the whole cliche surf lesson right?

I was first up. We didn’t have all this “popping up” practice on the beach like you see in movies. The instructor showed us how to get up once, slowly, and we didn’t even have the board underneath us.

I’m the kind of person who hates not being good at something right away. I want to go hide somewhere and get through all the awkward learning parts so when I’m viewed in public, I don’t run the risk of embarrassing myself. In this case, it just wasn’t possible.

As the wave came, he gave me a push and yelled, “Paddle, paddle, paddle! Eyes on the beach! Eyes on the beach!” I somehow managed to get myself completely standing on the board and rode it in, all the way to the sand. What!? 

I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t think I was coordinated enough to actually get up on the board– but I did it! My next chance, not so much, but I was hooked. And after it was all over I realized that so many things in surfing could relate to real life.

What Surfing Reminded Me About Life

Not Every Wave is Yours

Some waves were set up for me, some waves he pushed someone else into and some waves went by without anyone attempting. Even the waves I was pushed into didn’t necessarily always pan out. Sometimes I couldn’t get up at all and others I would fall off mid-ride.

Waves, like opportunities, will come and go. There are going to be times when you think you’ve got a great one, only to be disappointed midway. There will be times you’ll miss opportunities, but maybe that’s because they simply weren’t meant for you. There will be times you’re unsure and maybe even afraid— but end up riding it out the whole way, which is reason alone to keep trying.

Keep Your Eyes On the Beach

Our instructor was like a broken record and said the words, “Eyes up! Eyes on the beach!” more times than I could count. I quickly realized that my success on the board was directly affected by whether or not I was looking at the freaking beach. (Go figure, right?) If I kept my eyes on it and stopped worrying what my hands and feet were doing, then I would ride the wave all the way in. If I focused on trying to remember what I was supposed to be doing, I generally wouldn’t make it.

We all get caught up in the details. There have been times I have been distraught and torn apart over a piece of the puzzle, but every time I have stepped back to look at the whole picture I would realize how little a difference that one piece made. It’s so easy to get distracted by things that seem like they matter, but keeping your eyes on the prize will keep you focused and headed towards success. Details are important yes, but not if they are taking away from the bigger goal.

Know When to Move On

I caught my last wave with 15 minutes left in our session. It was perfect and I rode it all the way to the sand. Afterward, I dragged my board a little further up the beach and sat on it, peaceful and proud. When asked if I was going back out, I shook my head. I kind of still wanted to surf, but I wanted to end the day on a high note. I wasn’t sure if I’d get another wave in that time that I’d be able to ride all the way in, so instead, I chose to savor the moment.

There will be times when you try so hard and don’t make it, times when you do make it and times when you’ve accomplished a lot, learned a lot– but didn’t quite see the outcome you had hoped for. You have to know that it’s okay to walk away. It’s okay to be done with it, regardless of how it ends up, as long as you’re able to find peace with your decision.

Otherwise, you need to get your ass back out there until you ride a wave you can be proud of.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Chrystal Rose
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