Sunday, December 16, 2012

Making Big Waves

This morning, I woke up to a gorgeous Australian summer day. I enjoyed my morning coffee on my friend's balcony overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge and within moments, the sun's warm touch left a golden hue on my skin. I woke up Diana in a fit of giddiness and told her to get ready so we could venture out to Manly Beach.

Before heading to the beach, Diana went to church while I explored the Rocks Market. The Rocks is a ritzy area of the city lined with cozy cafes, restaurants, shops, and bars to feed anyone's interests. I circled through the market then walked along the Harbour toward Circular Quay where we rode in a ferry to Manly. On the ferry, I saw both the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House up close...stunning. The photos don't even partially translate the beauty that one experiences riding through the Harbour.

Twenty minutes later, we arrived at Manly. From where the ferry docks, the beach is still a 5 minute walk or so. When we first saw where we were being docked (not knowing it wasn't at the actual beach), Diana and I were severely concerned...we wondered, where were all the waves?! After a ferry employee laughed at us, he said we had to walk 400 meters to the beach and that we would be impressed..."impressed" was an understatement. I've never seen such large waves in my life!

We walked directly to the boogie board rental hut and rented a board each to brave the overpowering monstrosities of waves unfolding before our eyes. It took us a couple minutes to adjust to the freezing water, but the extreme warmth of the sun helped to nudge us into the water more quickly.

Now the fun/scary part. Let me tell you a story first to set the scene. I am a native Chicagoan, which means I grew up far away from the ocean. And as I mentioned in a previous post, I "failed" out of swim lessons as a kid because I strongly disliked being cold and wet. However, I love the ocean and have found ways to survive while being in it, although I've had a couple close calls. The most intense experience happened in Acapulco when I was a sophomore in college. A group of my friends and I went there for spring break and often found ourselves spending the day in the ocean versus floating around the STD-infested pool. One day, I remember "swimming" pretty deep into the ocean and getting stuck in the undertow. Before I knew it, wave after wave crashed into me and I had a hard time coming up for air. At one point, I remember I looked back, saw a wave twice my height fast approaching, and thought to myself, "Yup, I'm a goner." Luckily, it wasn't my time yet and a random guy from Texas saved me. Since that incident, I've been hesitant to go in the ocean when the waves are huge.

However, I made an exception while in Australia. I decided I needed to face and conquer my fear. I set out into the ocean and tackled the waves rolling in. Besides the fact that my bathing suit nearly wiggled its way off my body and into the endless sea, I kept pressing through to ride the big waves further out.

After about an hour of boogie boarding, my eyes burned from the salt-entrenched waters. I escorted my board to shore and passed out in exhaustion on top of it while the front side of my body baked in the summer sun. I could hear laughter and chatter all around...pure bliss.

The rest of the day was dedicated toward naps in the sun, reading, and pondering. I couldn't help but notice the parallels between conquering my fear of the waves and conquering life's constant curve balls. Each drains you, one physically and one emotionally. But sometimes you just have to get back out there and try again until you feel satisfied with the result.

Lesson I've learned: get out there and defeat the things that scare you. Otherwise, those things will turn into the things that hold you back from true happiness.

I'm ready to make waves of my own now!

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