I stood alone on the Mexican beach, looking out over the horizon. Under my feet and surrounding me were hundreds of thousands of tiny black rocks, perfectly rounded and smoothed by the friction of countless saltwater waves that had crashed onto them. The sun was already beginning to hide behind the mountain to the south, casting a beautiful orange light over everything in sight.
I fidgeted as I focused on the tiny waves, struggling to decide if I should go rent a surfboard and get out in the water. These were terrible conditions, and there was just about no chance that I would have a memorable surf session. But when would I have the opportunity to go again? I was scheduled to return home to my landlocked home in Colorado the next day, so it was now or never.
That’s when the thought popped into my head. The waves weren’t great, but they were waves, and where I was going, there would be none. So I could sit here analyzing the swell and waste what little time I had, or I could go grab a surfboard.
I looked at the shoreline one last time, said to myself, “The waves are better here than in Colorado,” and I walked to the board rental. A few minutes later, I jumped into the water and struggled to catch wave after wave with no success. The swell was slow, sluggish and provided little power.
After about 20 minutes or so, I essentially gave up on the session, and I floated just beyond the break. A school of tiny fish swam all around me, churning up the water and attracting pelicans that dove into the water at top speed to catch a mouthful of these unlucky sea creatures. As I stared out into the ocean, I found myself in a state of pure gratitude for the natural beauty that surrounded me, for my health that allowed me to engage in such a stimulating activity, and for all the unique and interesting people I had met on my journey.
In this state of internal peace, I began to see the waves in a new way, and I started to approach them differently. I began to dance with the water a bit more, bouncing in and out and meeting the waves where they were instead of waiting for them to come to me. Before I knew it, I was riding a little wave and gliding in towards shore. I then paddled back out and caught another wave and then another.
None of the waves I rode were impressive in the least. Still, something about the whole experience created a source of light deep within me that permeated my entire being. As the sun faded and the darkness took hold, I walked out of the water with a feeling of pure joy pouring through my veins.
Thoughts flooded forth about all the times I had decided not to do something because the circumstances weren’t perfect. I thought of times when I hadn’t surfed or gone skiing because the conditions weren’t ideal. Or times when I hadn’t started a creative project that I had been dreaming about because the moment wasn’t quite right. And other times when I hadn’t reached out to my loved ones because I assumed they were busy. I always had a reason why I couldn’t live my fullest life today, because tomorrow might have slightly better conditions.
So what could I do about this in the future?
I decided to stop trying to have the perfect experience and instead see what surprises the imperfect experiences had for me. And instead of constantly analyzing everything, I could simply jump into life, take the plunge, take risks and adjust to the environment around me.
Next time I find myself debating whether now is the right time to do something, I’m going to think to myself, “the waves are better here than in Colorado.”
P.S. — I can’t begin to explain how grateful I am for every person who reads this. I would really love to hear if this triggered any thoughts for you, whether good or bad. Did I swing and miss on this post? Let me know. Did this post make you think about some aspect of life differently? I’d love to hear it. I am on a journey of self-improvement, so your feedback is priceless. Also, if you know anyone who may enjoy this, please feel free to send it along to them. Lastly, you can subscribe to get notified whenever I publish something new by clicking here. Many thanks for your time and attention, and best wishes on your life’s journey.