You never know when it’s going to hit you.
It just shows up. It just knocks the wind out of you and puts you right where you need to be. I had some interesting feelings about the first two months of this journey, but as soon as I landed in Ericeira, Portugal and dove into the water the first day of being here on my own, I knew that what I had been looking for all that time had collided with me.
I realize that over the past few years, there wasn’t really something I did for fun.
My fitness journey was fun, but that was brutal on the mind and the body. Exploring was fun. Weekend trips were fun. But I never really had my “thing” ever since sports ended for me. Even baseball stopped being fun at the end when injuries kept lining up making me step farther and farther back from my dream.
The last few days of surfing have taught me something really important. Well, a few things actually. But most of all it’s taught me what it’s like to be a beginner at something again. I’ve started something completely new and foreign to me – absolutely love it to death – but have tons and tons of work to do to get good.
You fail and fail and fail and fail and fail until you land one good wave and instead of focusing on the failures you celebrate the progress.
Then you paddle your butt back out as fast as you can to eat it about 10 more times before you get another one right. Eventually, you start lining up 2 in a row. Then 3. Then 4.
Every time I celebrate.
I celebrate the small wins. I celebrate the fact that I know I suck right now, but damnit I’m getting closer to getting better every single time I give it my best.
Put in the work. Shovel enthusiasm on top of it. Enjoy falling down so you can get back up. Oh, and don’t take yourself so seriously.
I’ve been here 3 days and I feel like I’ve been here a year.
The coach that I work with finally has told me that I can go out on my own and practice. The guy that runs the shop is already talking to me about getting my own board. And when I think about it all, I realize that there are a couple of times every single day I can really go out (with my skill level right now) and practice away.
So I’m getting my own board.
I’m getting my own wetsuit.
And every day I’m heading out there to do that thing I already love to death.
There’s going to be a lot more falling, dipping the nose, slipping, and getting mouthfuls of water…but good heavens am I having fun even doing that.
When I look back to my time right before I left to do this, I wondered what all of it would bring for me. What I realize now is that my plan is completely changing. I can’t justify trapping myself in the middle of a city again when all I want to do is be in the water. I belong in the waves having a blast.
I am giving that to myself.
No personal judgements.
No plan but the plan I want.
Just me doing my thing.
That’s enough for me.
-Evan Sanders, The Better Man Project