I have always wanted to be a surfer girl. Most of my childhood was spent in the Midwest so I dreamed of living near the beach. I longed to be an athlete who could dance on water. Surfers are undeniably cool — ask anyone.
When I was 40, I moved from Seattle to San Diego for the warm and sunny benefits. My new home was three blocks from the beach and surfers were everywhere. They rode beach cruisers with surfboards under their arms. In fact they surf all year long. I admired their passion, commitment and above all, their guts. Even the old guys were out there — while I watched from the sidelines.
I bumped into my surfing dream every day, but I was not getting in the water. Instead, I watched surf documentaries, attended surf competitions, and bought surf books, Hurley sweatshirts and Roxy bikinis. I wandered into surf shops to gaze at the gear and speak to 17 year olds about board design and dynamics. I was moving as close as possible to surfing without actually touching it. So what the hell was going on?
I did not want to be disappointed.
I did not want the experience to be less than what I had imagined. What if I was a surf dud? What if my inner athlete/rock star/daredevil failed me? What if I was deficient in guts and grit? There is no vitamin for that.
Oh wait, yes there is. Turns out you can transform fear into fuel.
First, I realized that NOT SURFING was a big, fat drag. Avoiding disappointment was only causing more disappointment. Ironic? You bet.
Second, I remembered that anything worth doing is worth doing, period. The heart wants what it wants. Turning away from a heart’s desire felt like I had my jeans on backward – uncomfortable and wrong. The moment I accepted any and all surfing outcomes, my resistance evaporated. And once I was in the water and on a surfboard, I was ridiculously happy. I had engaged the dream and anything beyond that would be a bonus.
And now, here is the Official List of Wendy’s Surf Dream Bonuses:
1. We were the first ones on the beach.
2. The waves were just my size.
3. I was not cold.
4. Also in the water were whales and Luna, a surfing dog.
5. Although I crashed a ton, I actually rode several waves.
6. Even when I crashed, I was fine.
7. I laughed a whole lot.
8. Cheap champagne never tasted better.
From my dream-avoidance state, I could not envision a kickass outcome such as this. My brain could not even imagine surfing with whales or a dog. I did not allow room for how good it could be. Makes me ponder where else I am limiting my dreams by seeing only part of what is possible.
Instead of pushing off your dreams, suck ’em up and become a Dream Hoover like me. Eureka!*
*eureka [yoo-ree-kuh]: used to express delight on finding, discovering or solving something, or finally succeeding in doing something.