Writer/Surfer
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Photo: Jeff Flindt

After taking one of these on the head, do you go back out? Photo: Jeff Flindt


The Inertia

Time and time again, I learn that life is just like a wave. That may come off a tad hokey, but hear me out.

Imagine yourself on a perfect day in the ocean with glassy waves. It’s overhead and you’re on a magic board at your favorite break. Out on the horizon, a bump turns into the face of an amazing wave: powerful, fast and big. When the peak begins to crest, your adrenaline kicks in and you paddle for position. After a few strokes you go, land on your board and smoothly drop down the face. But then the wave starts to mutate and turns into something completely different than anticipated. Before you have a chance to kick out, the wave envelops you, throwing you around like a ragdoll, pushing all the air out of your lungs.

We’ve all experienced something similar to this. I’m not just talking about the ocean and surfing but life in general. I recently experienced a situation that mimics this scenario. I went for broke in a series of events because the yes’s outweighed the no’s and, all of a sudden, my life was in a whirlwind crash and burn. I was left stressed, disoriented, numb and in need of meditation. With time to reflect and look back, I asked myself, “Would I have done it differently?”

I think we all in some capacity would like to say we’d do something different if we were given the gift of hindsight. But life is just like a beautiful wave. Sometimes it’s a smooth ride with a fantastic elated feeling at the end. Other times it’s just a giant hold down waiting for the turmoil to end and fighting for the moment to just be able to breathe.

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When any moment looks good and starts out so right, we let the adrenaline take over and just go. Somewhere before the crash we realize something is wrong; however, at that point, it’s too late to back down. We just try to make the best of it as the weight of the wave of life comes pounding down all around us.

All any of us can do in life is take a deep breath given the opportunity and let our bodies relax and take a few knocks. Once turmoil slows and our brains are given a second to orient, we climb and fight to the surface while that screaming thought of, “Almost there…” bursts from our being. We emerge from the depths of the experience gasping for air.

What comes next is the choice to go to shore for safety or turn around and go back to the lineup. Either decision is valid depending on how brutal that last experience was and how drained you are from it.

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Even though you might be exhausted, winded, would you not have gone for that wave that flipped you on your head? I’m banking you still would because you would never have known how good or bad the ride would have been had you not gone for it. As surfers we’re all in. We’ll shake the experience from our memory and just get up and go because it’s worth it, even though some of the time we get the shit beaten out of us.

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