Have you ever done something that’s pretty much convinced you that you are Superwoman/Batman/Wolverine/insert-applicable-and-freakishly-awesome-DC-or-Marvel-superhero-here? The other day I had one of those moments. I felt like I was a brand new and shiny person, like I’d ripped off my skin and revealed the real me underneath, the one that wears a cape, has a six-pack and would make even Benedict Cumberbatch swoon a teensy bit. So what gave me my superhero spotlight moment?
No. I didn’t lose a million stone and go blonde. I surfed. And it was freaking AMAZING.
I have wanted to surf ever since I was little, and it was one of those things that, under the surface, I thought would never happen. Kind of like sky diving, (one day definitely, possibly, if I ever get over my crippling fear of impaling myself on a unicorn’s horn) going to The Netherlands, (I would prefer it if everyone in the UK could just randomly start speaking Dutch. And singing. Basically, if life was a Dutch musical, I would be content) and having afternoon tea with Neil Gaiman (Ok, this one HAS to happen. I will even drink caffeinated tea and learn how to use all of the cutlery. Now that’s dedication).
But then I did it, and it was incredible.
The first lesson I learned was: You have to make things happen. Yeah, I know, it took me a while, but I still haven’t figured out how not to set things on fire, so call me a slow learner. I’ve always been convinced that epic things will just happen to me, and then when they don’t happen, I sit around scratching my head.* But this time, I was pro-active. I met a dude who surfs, asked him to teach me, nagged him a bit, then got my butt to the beach. It was that simple and that hard.
Lesson two: You will not be great at anything straight away. I am the perfect example of a narcissist with low self-esteem. I think I will be amazing at things, until I try them. Then I think that I’m the most useless, lame person in the world ever, and should probably move to a cave and stop bothering people with my incompetence. Ok, so maybe not that bad, but getting there. I had a vision in my mind of the graceful, skinny, blonde (despite my hair’s stubborn reaction to all hair dyes sending it to the ginger side of town) surf girl I could be, shredding the waves with ease. One word: Nope. There was a lot of falling and skinned knees, a mouth full of salt water and a lot of time spent staring out to sea, promising it gifts of fish, boats and mermaids if it produced some surf-able waves.
Lesson three: Promising the sea aquatic presents that you have no intention of giving really works!
Lesson four: Improving is amazing. Yeah, I wasn’t a surf Jedi straight away, but I learned to walk before I could run**. By the end of my first lesson, I managed to get to my feet, and that was good enough for me. I had been surfing. I did something that I seriously thought I’d never do, and it felt amazing, not only to achieve something, but also to keep a promise to myself, no matter how tentatively it had been made in the first place. I’m now planning to get with the program and come good on all my other wishy-washy goals. But first, I’m getting back on the board because…
Lesson five: Surfing is the most incredible thing I have ever done, and I was a bit of an idiot to put it off for so long.
So if there’s anything you’ve been meaning to do, but haven’t quite found the impetus, or the time, or the most convenient excuse that gets you out of it, stop stalling and do it. You will either be happy you did or get impaled by a unicorn horn. Either way, you’ll know.
*Do people do this in real life? Like, does it help with the thinking process? Maybe that’s where I’m going wrong. Must do more scratching…
**Still haven’t got the hang of running. Something about moving at speeds sends me hurtling into hedges. And canals. And down mountains. It’s probably safer if I don’t leave the house.