Life lessons I learned from surfing in the Caribbean

Surfing has always been on my bucket list of things to do before I die.

Yet it has been the one activity that I have put off as ‘now is not the right time’, I’ll do it ‘next time’.

Like there really is ever a right time to trying surfing!

Living in Canada, it’s not something you can just decide to do unless you have a vacay booked for a sunny hot spot.

But turning 51 and being in a sunny hot spot (The Dominican),  I really had no choice. Let’s face it, I am getting older!

So when I walked past the activity area on the beach in front of the resort I was staying at, The Majestic, I was nudged by the sign that  said: Surfing lessons $89.

“Screw it”, I said, “it’s do or die”, and I registered myself for a morning of surfing lessons.

Here are the 8 things I learned about surfing…or more precisely, what I learned about myself and life and everything in between.

1. Have a bucket list of things you want to do before you die…then actually pick one item off that list and do it! Just because it’s on your  bucket list, you can’t tick it off until you actually do it.

2. Get uncomfortable. Anything that is on your bucket list should not be an easy or comfortable thing. It’s on your list for a reason, and usually because it is something weird, wacky or just something out of your ordinary daily life. And that would be something different and uncomfortable (otherwise you would be doing it already, and it would not be a bucket list item). Get the point?

3. Be in shape. I truly mean that – be physically, mentally and emotionally in shape to do that uncomfortable thing – otherwise it will be that thing you say is ‘not the right time’. Be ready for anything because the right time will creep up on you and you just gotta do it. Otherwise your bucket list will never be empty – and that’s the key to life – emptying your bucket.

4. Learn the art of balance. I do not believe in work/life balance. I believe balance is doing what you want, when you want and how you want. Check your bucket list right now – what’s on it – and pick a date for when you will tick it off your list, otherwise it will never happen. You won’t even die trying, you’ll die not having tried. Ouch!

5. Fall down. Lots. Surfing is a balancing act, that’s all. And you will fall down. Pros fall down. But you can’t stay down otherwise the another wave will come and you will be caught in the undertow. So you gotta get up as  fast as you can. Basically get back on the board, try again and 100% you will fall down again. That’s what surfing is all about.

6. Pay attention. I got hit in the head with the board when, just after I fell off, was in knee deep water, I turned to look the other way. As I turned back to ocean view, a wave brought the board up and over and smacked me right in the forehead. I am lucky I did not get a concussion or whiplash, it hit me that hard. I was stunned.

7. When you get hit once, you will get hit again. So after I recovered from the head hit, I was too slow to react, and once again a wave came and this time the board came at me and smacked me in the thigh (think of getting hit with a baseball bat – yup it was that painful). Be aware of what you are doing at all times and always keep your eye on the prize.

8. Recovery. There is always a period of recovery. When you are in action in life or business, you need to carve out recovery time. The harder you get hit the longer the recovery so try to avoid being smacked up side the head by life. And when you do, get out of the way before it happens again! Having recovery time in between hits is ideal because you come back stronger and smarter. Avoid the double whammy!

I can’t wait to go surfing again.

Now that I know I can do it, I know the dangers (but really I know that you never turn you back on a wave!)

I’ll come back stronger, smarter and it will be a whole lot more fun.

Just like life lessons!