(Photo by Brett Danielsen from Death to the Stock Photo Photo Pack)
One Sunday last May, I had a dream about surfing.
More accurately, that I was to write a book about surfing. In this dream, I was even given the title of said book.
What? Write a book about surfing? I don’t know diddly squat-all about surfing; I can barely swim.
Given the date – Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014 – I considered the possibility that it could be a message from my Mom, who passed away in 2009, and who I miss fiercely.
Now, when you have a dream that you’re supposed to do something slightly outlandish, what do you do?
Sure, writing a book feels like a fine thing to do. I’m a writer. Naturally I have that dream. But write a book about surfing? Not so much.
But I had to admit, I was intrigued by the idea. It actually lit me up.
Which I guess tells you something: if I didn’t immediately dismiss it as ridiculous, silly or crazy, then maybe there really was something to this thing that I was meant to pursue.
So I did what I often do when I get a nutty idea: I became slightly obsessed.
I began researching all things surfing: the sport of surfing, surf lessons, Wilmington, NC surf culture, surf lingo, surfing and spirituality, surf vacations, surfboard artists, books about surfing, and more.
Next I homed in on research about surf lessons in my local area, just for the fun of it. I checked into swim lessons at the Y because, if I did indeed decide to take surf lessons, naturally, the swimming must come first.
Then I started reading surf memoirs: first, The Great Floodgates of the Wonderworld by Justin Hocking, then Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave by Peter Heller, and now, West of Jesus: Surfing, Science, and the Origins of Belief by Steven Kotler.
I took myself to Barnes & Noble and stood like Cletus the slack-jawed yokel in front of the surf section of the bookstore, making a mental list of all the surfing-related books I would buy over the next few weeks and months.
I started researching surf vacations (did you know there are companies that specialize in surf travel?) and imagining myself in some tropical locale, where I would check out of work mode and check into a relaxed beach vibe, with surf lessons in the morning, yoga in the afternoon, and plenty of time to write in between.
Pure bliss, I tell you.
But what, I asked myself, was driving all this?
I thought about it and I thought about it, and the only thing I could come up with is that the last few years have been mostly work, work, work (with the added bonus of a massive amount of stress when I was still at my corporate writing gig), and very little play, and I need more play. Lots more.
I feel like I’ve had my life on lock-down since, oh, about 2012 or so, and quite possibly a lot longer, if I’m honest. I’ve been living as if every moment away from work and business – something I’ve been told is called “down time” – was certain to doom me to failure if I indulged in it regularly.
But now I have this powerful craving for an adventure of some kind, a way to introduce more uncomplicated, unadulterated fun into my life. Blissful, carefree, guilt-free fun, on the regular, as the youngsters say.
I also want to do something that will make me fall in love with life again, something that will help me recognize there is a life outside the confines of my office, this laptop, my copywriting business, and most of all, this obsessive, Type A, hyper-analytical, never-ending loop of thinking, thinking, thinking all the time instead of just being. Just breathing and enjoying, full stop.
And I think learning to surf can help get me there.
That’s what the dream was for.
Fingers crossed I don’t chicken out.
What about you? Have you ever decided to do something crazy based on a whim or a dream? How did it turn out? What lessons did you learn? Would you recommend following your intuition this way? Let me know in the comments!