Learning to Surf in Vietnam

Even without the Surfer’s eye, I could tell  the ocean was a little pissed off. Pissy Poseidon= tough times. We all remember that from The Odyssey.

The waves at this beach were surfable I assumed. However, this is like saying that durian is edible. It is, but only by a technicality.

This was my first attempt at surfing. It was difficult.

I was subject to the furious, uncontrollable temperament of the sea. And it was damn unpleasant. Falling didn’t hurt, except when my surfboard slammed into my chin, or when I got tossed into the shallows. That part hurt. But in general, the pain of slamming into the ocean was emotional.

So for an hour I rode the strugglebus out to the waves, got into position, tried to stand up, then crashed into the disorienting world inside the wave. Then I did this again. And again. And again.

I guess this process looked amusing. Some 20-something was filming my row with the sea god. Maybe I’ll become an internet sensation. That’d be pretty sweet.

Anyways, it was really fucking hard. But I eventually got a wave. Granted it was a wee little one. But I still stood up and rode that bastard without getting a facefull of salt water.

Conditions will not always be pristine. We will not always have a cascade of roses lining the floor we walk a la Coming to America.

In fact, most of the time this isn’t the case. Waiting around for the delusion of “the perfect time” only holds us back. 

There were no good waves at this particular beach. Ever. I could have waited for better waves, for a different beach, for better weather. But then I wouldn’t have learned to surf.

Point is, life is inherently chaotic, unpredictable and above all, imperfect. We need to take this into account when tackling goals.

Anybody can eat lots of veggies if they’re loaded enough to hire a personal chef. But that’s not most of us. Our strategy and perspective needs to be about learning to ride the volatile waves that life throws at us. 
And yes, we will crash. It will suck at times. It will be really uncomfortable.

This is good. This means you’re doing something new. You’re challenging yourself. You’re striving to be better. Good fucking job. Not everyone has the balls to do that.

And once you get the hang of riding that little wave, you’ll want bigger waves. This is how we get better at something; by constantly getting better bit by bit. 

While the waves were rough, I wasn’t trying to surf Mavericks on day 1. Knowing your limits is important, mainly so you can break them. 

That’s how you get pitted. And isn’t that all any of us really want?


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