Flashback: The Compromise
I log in to my computer. My desktop backgrounds on each of my duel screens pop up before my applications get a chance to load. I get a few seconds to wallow in a couple of Chris Burkhard’s finest photographs from places I will surely never go — at least, not while I was shackled to this drab little cube. This was one of the best moments of my day.
It’s really funny how one compromise had lead to another compromise, which eventually lead to a life in the rat race and a life with much less time in the water. But, it was a life with stability. A life that gave my two-year old son some killer health insurance and I was finally able to spring for a new full suit each winter and a new addition to the quiver whenever I saw something that might be fun on the right day. However, I was rarely able to use them — aside from the health insurance, which is pretty awesome.
I had little time in the water, with very little time to practice the closest thing to religion and truth that I had. So, I found myself in the water every Saturday and Sunday morning. That was it. At that point, that was the time that I surfed with people of my kind. The weekend warriors. The guys in the water speaking of stock trades and office politics. The guys with GoPro mounts all over their surfboards and the guys that don’t look before they go. This is the group that I was now classified with, and this is the group that I had sadly joined. But, my son had health insurance.
Flashback: The Grind
Sitting in traffic, dreaming about the ocean. Sitting in a cube and dreaming about how I’d rather be searching for a parking spot in Newport on a Sunday morning in July. My boss sends me a chat asking about the status of the 25 page whitepaper that I’ve been working on for the past week. But it just so happens to be the same time that KP called the Quik Pro “ON” after 10 lay days. So, I confidently say “It’s almost done! Just polishing it up.” This is right as dawn patrol starts and I know my attention will be glued to a tiny minimized little window in the corner of my left hand monitor, surrounded by many other open windows that can be brought to the front with a quick little click of the mouse should any co-workers happen to stroll by.
I give a very concentrated look to my screen all day to portray a good employee doing good work. I am not a good employee, and I do no work today because “It’s On!”
Surf culture is permanent. It’s casual, it’s cool (even as an adult, your peers around the water cooler in the office are fascinated by it), and it’s simply the best way to live (in my humble opinion, of course). Many times it begins when you’re twelve. That was when surfing was cool. Plain and simple. Chicks dug it, and your parents didn’t understand it. It wasn’t like tennis. It wasn’t like track. It was a different way to look at individual sports. Your parents would never understand it. And you can’t pinpoint the moment that it all clicked. You think you can (everyone remembers that one wave), but the truth is, the moment it happened was well before that wave. It was the moment that you simply saw it and liked it. Plain and simple. There really isn’t any explanation. It was pure and perfect, and you had to be a part of it.
This is when your life was over. The only thing left to do was to build a life around surfing. It’s not easy, but if you plan your moves carefully and you only compromise on rare occasion, then you may be able to happily enjoy the rest of your life in the water.
This was what I needed. This was what my family needed. So, I gave my two-weeks notice, I ground out ten final days in the office, and I hit the road to the beach. It was time to teach my son the beauty of what surfing brings to what often times becomes what people see as a sad reality. It was time to teach my son that life is too short to be miserable everyday. And it was finally time for me to teach my son that we’re going to have to get him onto my wife’s health insurance plan.
I understand that I may sound like a very irresponsible parent at this point, but stay tuned for what’s to comes next. If you’re a surfer, you’ll get it. Even if you’re not, you still might get it. All I want to do is offer my son a happy life. I believe to my very core that this is it.