Yesterday morning I woke up in my bunk bed in the tiny room I shared with my brother. As I laid in bed I realized that it was over. My week of vacation had come to an end and all that was left was to finish the packing up and drive the four and a half hours back to Rustburg.
So I did the only logical thing there was to do. I spent a few minutes thinking about riding the waves of life on a boogie board.
Oh Look, I’m Riding A Wave!
Ok. So I’m not a surfer – I’m probably about as far from being a surfer as I am from being an astronaut. I do however get a kick out of attempting to use a boogie board to ride the top of waves that are bound for the shore.
I like to think about life in relation to other things that are a bit easier for me to wrap my mind around. A couple times this week I caught myself thinking about the correlation between my life right now (and most peoples lives) and the procedural steps that occur when trying to “catch a wave” on a boogie board.
The Preparation Stage
In so many areas of life, whether it be education, career, relationships, etc., there is the preparation stage.
In the world of the boogie boarder it happens when I am sitting inside the house listening to the surf pounding the shore, working on emails or some other thing on my todo list. Slowly an urge grows within the gizzard that eventually cannot be ignored. That is when the mental preparation happens.
The next step in the preparation phase is to actually get out of the chair and prepare oneself physically. Putting on trunks and sunscreen before attaching myself to the boogie board (via a string) and slowly charging out the door towards the water.
Preparation is complete. I’m standing before the waves. Looking out to sea. It’s a long ways to Africa or England or whatever continent is due east.
Moving Out a Bit Deeper
Once we find ourselves prepared physically and mentally it’s time to take the next step toward whatever “goal” we are aiming for. It’s time to move out a bit deeper.
Clutching the boogie board under my right arm it’s time to actually get in the water. The first wave rushes in and around my feet and I realize that somehow the water is colder down here than it looked from the house 50 yard away. Oh well, I’ll get used to it.
The first little zone of waves are what I would call “junior varsity waves” they aren’t really big enough to carry a serious boogie boarder. They are however big enough that they need to be taken into account as they try to knock you off your feet.
Depending whether the tide is in or out the depth of the water is really gradual or pretty sudden. Either way the only way to find waves that are big enough to ride my magic boogie board is to go out till I get to the place where the waves are taller than I am…
Waiting for the Right Wave
Once you complete education and are looking for a job… or maybe you have finally worked up your courage and are ready to ask someone on a date… or maybe you are just trying to catch a wave… There is the concept of looking for “the right one” and waiting to proceed till you find what at least appears to be the correct one.
Standing in about chest deep water I prepare to ride a wave. My boogie board is ready and willing to help me attempt to catapult myself onto the tip of a breaking wave but I still have to wait for “the right wave.”
What makes a perfect wave? Well, there are a lot of waves that are really close to right and occasionally one comes along that is right. The best waves are the ones that are just big enough that I start to think maybe they are too big. Once I see one of those come along all I need to do is launch myself and my boogie board just right…
Trying and Failing
The perfect job comes along. You’ve read the job description and requirements… It looks to you like you are a perfect fit… Or maybe it’s the perfect girl… and everything just seems to be right… It’s time to go ahead and shoot for the moon. It’s time to try to ride the wave.
Once I locate a wave that is the right size and is going to break at just the right time I get ready to make an attempt. The boogie board comes out from under my right arm and I grab both sides with both hands, extend it out in front of my cuerpo and propel myself forward, upward and in the same general direction that the wave is going.
…and I realize after about two seconds that the wave has left me behind. I’m not zipping towards the shore. The perfect wave came. I tried to hit it just right… and I failed.
Trying and Succeeding
I think I’m slowly realizing that a lot of success happens only after a lot of repeated failure. (note, if we are talking about dating… you may want to think seriously about who you are and where you are in life if you keep failing.) I know for a fact that I’ve applied to a whole lot more companies than have been interested in pursuing further discussion with me about what I may be able to bring to the company. The only thing to do is keep on trying.
As soon as I realize that I’ve missed the previous wave I get my feet back down and prepare to find another “perfect” wave. None of them are really perfect, but some are definitely better than others.
Once I spot another one I again grab the boogie board on both sides and propel myself upwards and onwards in the same general direction as the wave. If I catch everything right and the wave is at the right stage of its life… I open my eyes and realize that joy oh joy I really am riding a wave.
It’s kind of exhilarating.
The thing about actually catching a wave correctly is that it doesn’t last very long. While it lasts it’s kind of incredible, but it will eventually end. Once you reach the farthest point the wave is going to take you there is another decision to make. Get out and go back to the house or turn around and go back out for another run.
Here’s to riding the waves… on the ocean and in real life…