of course, i had no way of knowing it then. but ten years ago, to the day, i made the decision that would determine the trajectory of my life, forever. where i'd live, who i'd love, journeys i'd take, bones i'd break, jobs i'd accept, people i'd meet, the person i'd become.

yesterdays. today days. my forever here-and-nowadays.

one decision, it turns out, can determine all that. and all those days.

7'4", secondhand, neon blue-and-yellow in all her glory. i can't even remember who shaped the thing. because who was i to care about things like that back then?

still, i'll never forget the feeling the day i bought it. or the first morning i took it into the whitewater and wiped out a million times on repeat. or the look on the face of the surfer babe who helped me pick it out, when he realized, that despite his decent deed and useful surfy knowledge, i had no actual intentions of sleeping with him. ever.

surfboards and surfer boys. the feelings and faces that never fail the test of time. even ten years down the line.

a decision. $200. and a commitment. mostly to myself. but also, unknowingly, to the ways i'd experience the world from that moment on. the sorts of eyes i'd see from. the heart i'd learn to hear and listen to. even when it's absolutely insane. yeah, surfing does that to a girl.

there's no going back from a life lived in waves. seeking, finding. highs, lows. being, doing. giving, receiving. comings, goings. laughing, crying. learning the ways of the sea to harmonize the ever-changing tides in me. how to weather the unexpected, to live with the fear and do it anyway, to stay and see or paddle like mad for the sand. to go for it when it's coming for you. to surf it, the best you can, whatever it may be.

not like i always get it right, or ever will.

even after ten years surfing.

but still.

each day, i ask myself:

'am i scared?'

yes or no.

'can i handle this?'

yes or no.

'do i want this?'

yes or no.

'am i ready?'

yes or no.

'am i gonna go anyway?'

...that one's easy.


because in life's changing seas, the decision to paddle out, and choosing which waves we want to take, are the only things that are ever fully within our control. the rest is a mix of practice, trust, skill, fate, flexibility and intuition. and a whole lot of fucking paddling.

do i take this wave? that wave? or let them all just pass me by? it's yes or no. you go or you don't. you surf or you float. rarely, do you drown.

the consequences, reliably certain, force a commitment one way or the other. so you do it. you choose, and you commit. or you fail, indubitably.

because when the waves are heavy and the stakes are high, doing any of it halfway hurts worse than the regret of just your wasted time.

so here's to surfing ten.

to no more halfway hurts. commitment to commitment.

to paddling out, no matter what.

or to staying on shore,

loving it all from the sand.