I took my first surf lesson, and I am hooked . . . like in LOVE! It’s a tiny bit ridiculous that I haven’t figured this out until now. I've always lived about 15 minutes from the beach and I spent my teen years competitively swimming. Oh, and did I mention that I'm completely obsessed with the ocean, and I'm convinced it can heal all things? Learning to surf has been on my wish list for about as long as I can remember. My friend, Kirsten, started a girls surf camp called Girls Wave Riding. When I saw this, I was really jealous of those kids, and jokingly asked her if I could come to camp. Luckily for me, she expanded and started offering surf lessons for women! Last week, I took my first lesson with Women in the Water, and it was amazing!
I tried learning to surf a few times before this. Two of my guy friends took me out and tried to teach me, but sometimes I think you just need to hear it from a woman. Kirsten, the owner of both surf camps, is a phenomenal teacher! She makes learning to surf easy, accessible, and FUN; and she has the confidence and skill necessary to truly teach what she loves. She completely takes the intimidation factor out of it. Being out in the water with her early in the morning before the crowds hit the beach was pure magic. It was the happiest and most excited I’ve felt in a long time.
For those of you who have been following along with me here, I’ve been talking about working my way through grief. I always compare deep grief to drowning in the ocean. When you’re grieving, for a long time, you can feel like you’re drowning. It’s dark, scary, and hard to breathe. Eventually you start to tread water and begin to swim. Then, a giant wave knocks you back down and you’re struggling to breathe again. The water settles, you tread water, start to swim, and then another wave. But at some point (hopefully), the waves become farther and farther apart until you are again swimming or moving through your life. Grief’s tricky and just like the ocean, you never really know when you’ll get knocked back by another wave. I took my surf lesson on my Nana’s first anniversary. I wanted to do something to shift my energy. I’ve been really struggling with her passing, and the awareness that I had completed an entire year of my life without her has been challenging for me. Something about taking this step, to learn to surf, like I’ve always wanted to do, really helped me. I’ve been living in anxiety about life moving too fast, and fear around death and the inevitability of it all; booking this lesson and beginning the process of learning a new skill really shifted something for me. It reminded me of how much I want to do and learn, and I feel less stuck. My lesson was a week ago, and it’s the first week I've made it a week without crying in the past year. While I think it’s easy to get stuck in our routines and in the business of day to day life, there’s always the opportunity to try something new, to find something else that lights us up. All it really takes is one step forward.
When Kirsten and I were out in the water, I started thinking about how powerful learning to surf is, especially for young girls. When you surf, you’re waiting to catch the wave you want, and when you see it, you paddle for it and go after it as hard as you can. Sometimes you miss it. Sometimes you catch it and ride the wave in, maybe on your stomach, a bit hesitant at first; then you try to pop up to your knees, and finally you try to stand. Sometimes you fall, and sometimes you ride the wave all the way in. It feels like a perfect metaphor for really LIVING your life. You have to wait until you know what you want, and then you go after it with everything you’ve got. Sometimes you miss it completely, and then you wait a little while until the next opportunity presents itself and you try again. Sometimes you go for it and fall, maybe gently, or maybe you get completely rocked. Either way, if you’re really going for a goal, you’re probably going to fall a few times. Falling is important, it’s how we learn! You have to shake it off and try again. Then there are those times in life, where you catch your wave, you achieve your goal and it’s awesome, effortless, and you feel like you’re on top of the world. No matter how long the ride is, eventually the wave ends and you jump off and paddle back out and wait to make your next move, maybe feeling ready for a bigger challenge.
I think it’s really important that as women we support each other and encourage each other to go for our goals. It’s ok if you fall, if you don’t make it the first time. It’s awesome really because it means you tried. It means you’re actively living your life, and the best part is, there’s always going to be another wave….