Surfing (Metaphorically)

Woman surfing doing a jump


I have long wanted to learn to surf, although I’m also terrified of it. (There are a lot of things like that in my life.) Please take this post as metaphor-from-a-distance, because watching other people surf has still given me some insight into how my life flows.

First thing, before you can do awesome jumpy tricks like Alana Blanchard up there, you have to choose to go out to surf. If you want to surf, you must first place yourself in the water. I suppose you should probably also obtain a surf board. OK. So. 1) Decide to surf. 2) Obtain surf board. 3) Find a place to surf. Let’s skip this bit, I wanted to get to a different part of the metaphor, and now I’m going down the, “Find somebody who knows how to surf. Oh, wait! How do you pick a surfboard?” rabbithole, and I have a point, I swear I do.

Back up. Let us presume that we are already committed to surfing, and know what the hell we’re doing. Ish. Life: you’re in it. You’ve been in it long enough to have a sense of what’s going on.

Picture of people waiting for the wave with one person in the middle of catching the wave.

See all those bobbers? Still surfing.

Phew. Now, the point.

Surfing has a few stages. There’s the exciting bit (5, below), but there’s a whole lot of

  1. swimming upstream, followed by
  2. bobbing about waiting for a good wave, followed by
  3. some frantic paddling to try and catch the wave, followed by either
  4. missing the wave and returning to bobbing or
  5. catching the wave and riding it to varying degrees of success.
    Which may be followed by either
  6. Arriving on the shore and choosing to return to swimming against the waves or
  7. WIPEOUT!!!

And then, of course, if you’re doing it right, there is the bonfire on the beach exchanging stories with friends part.

Now, it has been my observation that we’ve got this image in our minds of life as and endless process of 2, with very occasional moments of 3. I, myself, have had a life that included a lot of 1) and 2), occasional 3) some 4)s and a couple of 5)s. But whenever I find myself back in a stage 1 or stage 2, I feel like there is something wrong.

I think we need a better story, one with more bobbing about chatting with friends, and one that accepts that WIPEOUT is a possible outcome after catching the wave, even after years of practice.

I also think we need to plan lots and lots of bonfires on the beach.

Let us recap: Swim, Bob, Surf, Rest. Repeat until satisfied. Party on beach.

Who’s with me?

P.S. Also, in my next life, I want to be somebody who does awesome jumpy tricks.

I Don’t Pay for Coffee

Financial advisors hate lattes.

Apparently we can stop all this absurd drinking of our foofy coffees, invest the money instead and at the end of our lives we’ll be gazillionaires with yachts.

Yay, yachts, sometime way off in a nebulous future in which I want a yacht.

Meanwhile, there is this, my standard order:


“I would like a single short Americano in a yellow mug, please.”

The woman who owns the coffee shop usually reaches for the mug before I get to the front, so on the occasions that I want something else, it is disruptive. Yet she is kind, and forgives my whims.

She gives me a beautiful cup of coffee and I give her some money, and then I sit down and appreciate. I enjoy the mug, look at the reflections of the buildings in the cup. I have a conversation with one of my friends who just happens to be there. (It’s a small town. It is a rare event indeed for me to sit and drink my coffee in silence, although equally lovely.) If it happens to be warm, I sit in the sun and take a moment to bask, warm up, and feel the texture of the porcelain. Stir the perfect crema with the tiny spoon. Decide on sugar or no sugar. Sip. Sigh.

Yes, I can make coffee at home. I have a french press and an abundant supply of fair trade, organic, shade grown etc. etc. beans. I have the tea there every morning, and when I have no other reason to go to town, I do the economical thing (and don’t use fuel to get to the coffee shop either.)

But I’m not paying for coffee. I’m paying for there to be a coffee shop. I’m paying my portion of the rent on one of the “third spaces” at which creativity and conversations happen. I’m paying for somebody to know that a yellow mug matters, before I even know it might improve my life. I’m paying to step away from my desk and pay attention to something other than computers and code. I’m paying for accidental connections and vibrancy. And I’m paying for that moment of, “Sip… sigh”.

Something else is going to have to give if I’m going to have that yacht someday, because what I’m spending the money on at the moment is too valuable.

On Feeling OK

Hey, guys.


That woman up there… she knows how to write code. She also knows how to have hard conversations, comfort the hurt, love whole-heartedly, and solve astonishingly difficult physics equations. She has climbed mountains, floated a flower down the Ganges, ridden a mountain bike down a ski hill, and written words that made people cry. She has birthed and nursed babies, sung people’s praises, and sung harmony. She has taught calculus, how to count, and how to use meditation to navigate and appreciate an ever-changing world. She… she’s actually pretty awesome.

I woke up yesterday suddenly feeling beautiful, intelligent, accomplished, and loved… and then when I wanted to tell somebody, I realized that we live in a world in which I am embarrassed to admit that I am not only happy with my life, but happy with myself. I said it out loud in a small space, but I wanted to (and was encouraged to) say it out loud on a broader stage.

I am happy with my body, comfortable with food, pleased with what I have learned and what I can make, confident that I can do what needs to be done, and joyful in my relationships. And I’m only 43! Think what I’ll be able to do with another 40 years! (I sure hope I get another 40 years.)

Nothing changed. The world when I woke up was the same one I went to bed with. But somehow, magically, I felt OK.

This is a phenomenal place to be, and I wish that everybody got to wake up feeling this way on a regular basis… heck! Let’s aim for every day!

Please let me extend to you my sincere hope that you will wake up tomorrow feeling amazing. And the day after that… and the day after that…

Bright Blessings, Love, and Joy!
AKA Quest
AKA Auspicious Light (I’m not even joking. That’s actually one of the names I’ve been given in this lifetime. By somebody else, no less!)

P.S. Please tell me all the ways in which you are awesome!