We’ve all been there: That feeling to have something we don’t, or be with someone whom we aren’t. That longing look, thinking “If only I had that/him/her, I would be happy! I would be complete. I would be better.”
Surprisingly, I have them. I have them often. Here’s one recount.
I wasn’t catching many waves (yes, we ALWAYS say that… but this time seemed lower than average!). I was tired, my board felt all wrong, and I was constantly setting in the wrong spot. It’s not that I was chasing the perfect wave… I was chasing ANY wave.
So I packed it all in. The Situation was victorious over me, and I thought it better to bow out and head for the little coffee shop I like. As I grabbed my coffee and walked out into the lot, I spied the surf shop across the way. I never really made time for shops, but since the day was still relatively young, I figured I’d head in, grab some wax, and chat up whomever was interested in recounting surf stories.
As I wandered around, I ended up eyeing some new boards and thought it would be a harmless venture to check them out. As I ran my fingers lightly on the smooth decks and perfect graphics, my eyes settled on a 6 foot thruster. The graphic was simple and eye catching: 3 pencilled, wavy lines of different shades of blue ran the board lengthwise. Looking at the board sideways, they resembled 3 cross sections of swells… bo doubt what the artist had in mind. It was a real beauty… far better than the yellow beater I had picked up in Costa Rica years before. As I picked her up to check the rocker and rails, I realized another thing: the board was epoxy. Lighter and stronger than mine, I immediately felt that I would be a better surfer with her under my feet.
I liked the board. I wanted the board.
I continued comparing this new beauty to my old rugged princess, crammed unforgiveingly in my truck. Mine was pressure dinged, cracked, gouged, and pummelled. The visible repairs, the faded yellow, the old footpad: This board was the obvious cause of my poor performance earlier that day. I quickly became unsatisfied with my ride… a thought which had never entered my mind before. As if that suffering wasn’t enough, I then began to imagine how brilliant of a surfer I could become with this new epoxy beauty guiding me to the best waves. I would be unstoppable; immediately consistent and world class! In my mind’s eye, the sun was shining, the swell was like clockwork, and I was catching every wave with ease.
All thanks to the new board I could purchase.
As I blinked my self back into the present, my eyes focused on the $650 price tag and I swallowed deeply. I then let out a sigh as I contemplated how I could afford this. I couldn’t without repercussions… either giving up some food entirely for a little while, or pulling out the credit card and creating some debt. Either option was not favourable.
At that moment, a general sense of lack and inadequacy started making its way into my mind as I wondered where my savings were, why I couldn’t afford the board, why wasn’t I earning more money, and why had I chosen the career path I was on?
Lack. Self doubt. Negative criticism. Self induced suffering. ALl form a surfboard, and a price tag?
I smiled as I caught myself. I eyed the board once again, and thanked it for the lesson. I walked out to my truck, and admired my beat-up Costa Rican beauty.
Life is a wonderful lesson.