Saturday, April 11, 2015

The Problem with Surfing



I'm ashamed by how long it's been since my last post. My apologies to the millions who follow me, who wait with bated breath for each post and who are overcome with emotion and inspiration with each word I write. Thank you for your patience. Allow me to offer an explanation.

John Severson, the founder of Surfer Magazine famously stated in 1960, "In this crowded world, the surfer can still seek and find the perfect day, the perfect wave, and be alone with the surf and his thoughts." Well, in the last 12 months, I have learned that there is a paradox to this statement. 

In late 2013, I was laid off from my job. I was relieved because I had been unhappy but stressed because I didn't know when or how I was going to get my next job. While searching the job boards was fruitless, it only took about 30 minutes. The rest of the day was mine. You'd think - and many of my friends expected - that I would surf every day. The assumption made perfect sense: I had the time and surfing offered me a chance to clear my mind. Severson's mantra reinforced this.

The problem was being alone with the surf and my thoughts created feelings of angst and guilt, not clarity and serenity. Rather than forgetting my problems for awhile while I played in the ocean, my mind swirled with questions like "what am I going to do," "why is this happening to me again," "am I on the right path with my career, with my life" and so on. Deep stuff. Surfing wasn't an escape from but rather a magnet for these questions. In addition, I felt guilty for surfing. I should be spending this time looking for work, networking, brainstorming, taking courses, and more. What was the matter with me? Had surfing failed me? Or had I failed surfing? It was a difficult time.

Of course, I did eventually find a job, which I always knew I would. Now gamefully employed, the pendulum swung the opposite direction. The weekends were now my only time to surf and I was either too tired or too busy with errands and chores. This is a problem for any weekend warrior but considering the fact that I had taken a job that paid half of what I was making previously, I was still driven by guilt. I should be helping around the house rather than taking time out for myself. I surfed once the entire month of February. 

If I couldn't bring myself to surf, I sure as hell couldn't bring myself to write about surfing. Hence the hiatus from this blog, which has always been a cathartic practice for me. 

I have since renewed my commitment to surfing. I surfed a lot in March. I also picked up the planer again and am finishing my second board of the year and fourth overall. I also launched a surfing apparel company that I had started over two years ago. It's good to be back.    

I am going surfing today and while I don't expect to find the perfect day or wave, I look forward to being alone with my thoughts. Thoughts of gratitude and hope. Again, it's a good to be back.

Until next time, may your waves be head high and glassy.