2018 was one of the hardest years of my life. I was robbed on the first week of my backpacking trip, I had my heart broken, my little red truck was totaled, close friends decided I was disposable, my anxiety was through the roof, and being a fourth year, the impending need to figure out what I am going to do after graduation looms. If it was even remotely possible for me to sum up my year with one word, I would have to choose “wavy”. And yes, I am about to use a surfing metaphor, so get on board…
I bailed far too many times to count, I learned to pop up quickly and adapt to the wave, I took lefts when I should have gone right, I took lefts that were beautiful lefts, I got caught inside… You get the idea. What I want to say is that I had good days, and I had days where I struggled. But even on those days where I didn’t catch a single wave, I was still learning how to surf; I was getting better and stronger and practicing my breathing. And most of all, I GOT to go surfing (surfing is life if you haven’t caught on to my metaphor yet). And who would complain about that?!
Well, honestly, me. I complained a lot this year… But I am taking a step back right now and looking at 2018 in the grand scheme of things! I am not going to lie to you and say everything was swell. There were days with absolutely zero swell, but this year quickly mandated my growth and that is because I charged it. I was going head first, and I did not take precautions. No wonder I got hurt. And no wonder I learned so much so fast.
If I hadn’t discovered my love for surfing a couple years ago, I would not be able to build this metaphor and it would be impossible for me to see things from this point of view. Surfing might have actually saved my life in 2018.
At the very least, I would not be at an appropriate level of mental stability without it. When my spirit found itself in dark places, my heart would dream of the ocean and the chance to defeat that loneliness. It was almost instinctual -as soon as I was on the road with my wetsuit and board, I was okay again. God made it a refuge for me; somewhere I did not have to worry about the trivialities that my life back on land held. But I never cried on the drive back because I had to return to responsibilities, rather, I felt rejuvenated. Seeing my tangible struggle on those physically demanding days in the chilly water of Northern California showed me that I had that same strength and determination to defeat my emotional and mental walls. Through surfing I have been taught to persevere and work through the challenges of daily life. Best of all, I have been given opportunities for friendship and community and a sense of belonging.
Unfortunately, 2018 did not bring me direction. I’m still so confused, trusting people or even myself has become difficult and I don’t know what God has planned for me and I don’t know if 2019 will be any more revealing as to the purpose for my life… What I do know though, is that I’m going surfing this weekend and I’ll be okay.