Learning to Surf is like Learning to Life

Learning to surf is like learning to life

First thing’s first, taking surfing lessons for a week in Sri Lanka does not qualify me to write about the sport with any kind of authority. I know this. At most I surfed about 20 hours in total (and yes I’m playing fast and loose with the term “surfed”). By my calculation I still have about 500 gallons of sea water to swallow and approximately 14 million waves to catch before I can even come close to knowing what I’m talking about.

However. To me, learning to stand up on that board felt like learning to “life”. It was a salty, wet metaphor for the process of me figuring out how to stand on my own two feet and stop falling on my ass.

It was everything: Wading into the water, trying not to get bowled over. Wobbling to my feet, feeling the excitement of catching a wave for one brief moment before eating shit. Being too tired to push myself up with my shaking arms. Standing in the warm Indian Ocean in the fading light of the day and feeling so grateful for my many blessings. Acquiring a gross sand rash on my thighs. Being taught how to surf by a hot piece of ass instructor (who would make a mighty fine human surf board, if you know what I mean, wink). Drinking a cold beer at the end of the day, feeling so physically wrecked that I wanted to lie down and have someone pour the liquid into my open mouth. Watching myself back on video and being embarrassed at the wobbling, floundering sight of me. Being told to get out of the water on account of the crocodile swimming in the bay after being washed out of a storm drain.

It was the whole chicken enchilada—the good, the bad and the bruised; the messy, the wonderful and the seriously awkward.

Most of the time my life feels like a mess. I hardly ever know what I’m doing and I doubt I look like I do either. I’m always falling over and having big waves of uncertainty crash over my head. Shit rubs me up the wrong way. And sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in the ridiculous business of being me.

But my week in the water learning to surf reminded me that it’s okay that I’m not a robot; that it’s actually a good thing.

Because training to be a wholehearted human is big and spiritual and beautiful.  And frustrating and difficult and sandy.

The process of learning to ride that board wasn’t ever going to be a straight line—from shitty to shredding in seven easy steps. And it made me realise that neither is figuring out how to live.

Do you tend to agree or do you think I’m full of crap? Tell me over on my Facebook page.