For the first time in a long time I hadn't made any New Year's Resolutions at the start of 2015. Actually I kind of had an unwritten goal NOT to make any goals and I thought it would stay that way. But on a whim Saturday, January 3rd, in an attempt to avoid an all-day trip into town I declared "but we have to get back in time for me surf. I have to surf every day this year and I can't screw it up on the 3rd day." And it was done. My life was changed forever.
Sure I got my way that day. My family thought it was an awesome goal, a fun goal, a brag worthy goal that they would support me in. And then the questions began. "What about Sundays?", "What about when you take Heath to Utah?", "What constitutes surfing?", "What if there are no waves?", "What if the conditions are bad or you get sick?"
And just like that I was making rules and determining my fate off the cuff without any real forethought.
- I would surf everyday but Sunday that I was on-island. If I was on-island during daylight hours then I would have to surf.
- To consider it surfing I would have to catch 3 waves but the size and the length of the ride didn't matter.
- If there were no waves I would have to go out and wait for waves a minimum of 30 minutes. If I didn't catch any waves in 30 minutes time I could call it a day but if I caught one within 30 minutes then I would have to continue to wait for 2 more waves.
- If the conditions were dangerous I could skip that day but couldn't count it in my total number of surfed days.
- If I got sick or injured I would still have to surf unless the doctor told me it would be unsafe for me to do so.
The ultimate goal was to get 300 days of surfing in over the course of a year.
365 days in a year
-52 sundays in a year
-8 days in Utah with Heath
5 days of leeway for poor conditions, health or a trip off island
This is exciting!!
Or is it?
At first it was great. I had time to surf, my family members joined me, my friends tagged along. Life was good.
And then life got real. The kids got tired of going everyday. Dave had to go to classes. The times I could surf didn't match up with the times my friends could surf. I had deadlines at work that were fast approaching and my students were behind on the costumes. I had to make up for it and I was worried about taking time to surf. All that and the conditions were terrible. It was rainy and windy and, yeah there were waves, and yeah they were safe to go out in, but it sure didn't look like fun! Surfing is supposed to be fun. Or is it?
Day 20 I was ready to call it quits. Dave wouldn't let me. He forced me to go out. He said 3 waves and then home. See if you can be back in 30 minutes. I went, I surfed, I was home in 20 minutes. I can do this. That whole week I was in and out as fast as I could go and it became a new personal goal for busy, yucky days to see how fast I could catch 3 waves. One day I got 3 waves in 8 minutes time. On busy days that were great I would see how many waves I could catch in 15 minutes time. One day I got 10. OK I can do this.
But then I got injured. The load at work was lightening up, I had a little extra time but not much, so I went to enjoy some bigger waves at Turtle Bay 10 minutes further down the road. I got 3 great waves and thought I could get just one more and was taught a lesson by the wave. I got caught in a bad spot and ended up taking a tumble and somehow catching the fin to the back of my calf. I hobbled back to the car and spent the next couple days on crutches and the next month with a black and blue leg from ankle to above the knee. I made myself a compression wrap that I could wear in the water and I continued my daily surf but kept it to just 3 waves. It hurt too much to do more.
So here I am now at 100 days. Some days I'm in and out, some days I don't want to go, some days are awesome. I have had 3 big injuries: the fin to my calf, a dislocated shoulder, and a broken nose. My shoulder is a chronic problem since I was kid. The broken nose wasn't displaced and the swelling and bruising was minimal. I have learned that even the most fun sounding things can be painful or become drudgery but that ultimately keeping up on a goal, whatever it is, brings great satisfaction.
Some lessons I've learned while surfing:
1) Surfing has taught me a lot about patience and perspective. It sometimes would be easy to get frustrated because the waves aren't perfect or the other guy(kooks) got in my way or the paddle out is crap or the wind is blowing all over. But instead I have to remind myself "I'm in Hawaii! I am in a warm ocean surrounded by beautiful scenery! I own my own surfboard and even better I have a body that is capable of surfing! I am surrounded by other people who, like me, are here to surf because it makes them happy. I have time to be out playing in the water surfing!There will be more waves--there are always more waves."
This can be likened to other areas of my life too. Rather than focus on what is frustrating I can turn, change my perspective and look at what is surrounding me. I need to remember to look beyond the kooks and the bad conditions. Remember to look at the beauty that is surrounding me, the opportunities that lie ahead, and remember the people I am surrounded by, they just wanna be happy too.
2) Driving home from surfing on day 20--the day I almost gave up-- I was patting myself on the back for sticking with my goal when I suddenly had a wave of repentance wash over me as I realized I may have missed the mark. I had allowed myself, and sometimes forced myself to spend time each day surfing--something that in the big scheme of things isn't very important-- and I am still having a hard time committing myself to being better in more important areas of my life. I am missing days of personal scripture study. I could get to the beach but I couldn't always get to my knees to say a prayer in the morning. I was forgetting to write in my journal and I wasn't always practicing organ before church services. A quick surf trip takes about 40 minutes from putting the board in the car to return. I could easily use that 40 minutes a day on those other things and still maybe have time left over. I needed to change something, I thought to myself.
Now, I don't think my repentance necessarily involves giving up on my surfing goal but it certainly does mean I need to make a few more new year's resolutions for myself and to spend some time meditating on why I view prayer, scripture study and church service in a different light than surfing. Mostly it makes me grateful for the Atonement, that whether my sins are big or small it doesn't matter, the Atonement works the same. I can erase the way I used to do or view things and I can change. Or I guess it would be more correct to say Jesus has already erased the way I used to do or view things so why rewrite it the same as before? It's time to do it better! This Gospel truly is a gospel of improvement and progression. I should, can and will surf, study, pray and practice every day.