A question I’ve asked myself my whole life: “What the heck do people who don’t surf do?”
Tanning in the sand has never been appealing to me. I lay down for about 2 minutes before getting all antsy and have to get up and move around. The life and mind of a surfer is just that. Surfing. Anything else you do is just a space filler between swells.
Occupying your mind enough to forget that the ocean has become an over-sized lake (as is typical for the summer season) is an annual challenge that leads to some pretty creative ventures. Sometimes you get lucky, and mother nature throws a few ankle biters for the big boards, but often we must seek alternative outlets. (Hello, bloggy doggy)
I believe it is this time that the creative side of the surfing community really shows its impeccable face. Artistic inclination seems to be an integral part of the ocean community, from avid photographers, cinematography, painting/drawing, woodworking, music, you name it.
Perhaps the flat spells are necessary, because if the surf was perpetually great, less time would be spent on the creative side for everyone being in the water.
For me, it took a long time to be okay with being idle. Being idle lead to never being contingent on one thing to be happy, because my creativity allowed me to step away from just one love. To try new things. Stepping outside of the single frame of mind that is “if I’m not surfing, I’m waiting to surf,” allowed me to relax and be open to trying new things: refining my painting skills, writing more, practicing yoga extensively, discovering a love for rock climbing, going hiking, getting on my bike, and just sitting down and reading a book next to my dogs are all means of spending time that I actually seek out!
Creativity lends to a healthy kind of living. Express what burdens you. Express what you love. Express just having a shit ton of coffee in your system! It could be anything. I grew up with friends that would take towels on a day that was way too windy to surf and just skate down the street with their makeshift kites. You don’t have to be the stereotypical artist to be creative.
For me, there was a kind of liberation with letting go of self-identifying with one thing. I am not a surfer. I simply surf. I am not a yogi, a painter, a runner, or any of these things. They are simply what I do. It is often said “what you do defines who you are,” but we must remember that we are dynamic. Be receptive to trying something new. Don’t simply stick to one thing, because it has suddenly become your self-identifier. Fill your agenda with all the things! You can fall in love over and over again. Why the heck should we deprive ourselves of that opportunity?
Do what makes you happy, always. But don’t limit yourself to being just comfy.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, we finally have a bump in the water, and I’m out there.