I was having a bad day yesterday. In fact, I was having an off week. Most of the time following my dreams to do this writing and surfing thing makes me feel like I've done what I've always meant to; march to the beat of my own drum, absorb the good and discard the useless parts of criticisms and stay the course, my course, the only one that feels right for me. Other times, I am distracted by the achievements of others around me: cousin James going to Harvard, the guy in the seat behind me on the plane two years my junior headed off to Budapest on a "journalistic assignment", people mentioning their six figure salaries. In these moments of weakness I allow myself to become self-conscious and hyper-critical of what I'm doing. I begin asking myself "Why didn't I go get my masters?" or "Why didn't I major in something really fascinating like cinematography?", "Have I really done everything I could do to continue the fruition of my dream?"
Some days, Roxy clothes and wetsuits come in the mail and I nearly jump out of my skin and through the ceiling of our one story house with excitement. Other days, a magazine I've submitted an article for arrives and I realize, after flipping through all the pages three times, that my work has been left on the chopping block somewhere. Then I lay awake at night thinking ridiculous things like "I think I need to get more followers on twitter", even though I'm not even sure that's what I want or what I'd do with them. And other deeper concerns like "Am I lazy? Am I naive? Foolish?"
And then the next day I wake up and anxiety seems to fill my lungs and leap and jump and crawl into my throat until it comes out in sentences to my husband like "Can you film me surf tonight? Please. I have to finish that film!" And then he takes me to the beach when he gets home from work fifteen minutes before sunset because he loves me and so I can feel like I'm working towards something worth while.
I paddle out to the lineup in dark waters the night has already begun to kiss, letting all those worries and doubts drip off into them. A wave comes to me. Another man closer to the peak begins to paddle too, but I know he won't get it, so I put my head down and and dig my arms into the sea until the wave is mine. I drop down onto its indigo face with only things that matter in my mind. It's dark and I can barely see, but this path is one I know. I find my way from its bottom to its top. The wave stays open and I know exactly what to do.
And I am reminded again of what I know-
This is the path.
Stay the course.
And even in the dark I know my way.