We are sitting on our surfboards past the breakers on the coast of Santa Theresa, Costa Rica. The bright blue sky reflects off the water brightening our sun kissed faces. There are three of us, several feet apart slowly rising and falling with the breath of the waves. We are looking out towards where the water comes from, waiting for nothing. The air I take in my lungs is sweet and slow, match with the rocking of the boards. Suddenly he points. A wave I can’t even see is forming. He signals to us, go, and paddle hard. We turn and paddle and race the pull. The water rises up below me like nerves on a first date, pushing myself up, I stand. I am flying, floating between heaven and earth, the way love feels.
I think about surfing a lot. I never became an expert, but it changed my life completely. It doesn’t just feel like happiness, it’s pure bliss. I now understand why people dedicate their lives to doing it and why some die in the pursuit of a perfect wave.
When I compare surfing to the other happiest moments of my life, most of them have to do with the same elements. My moments in Santa Theresa were with two people I loved dearly, with fresh ocean air, good food and lots of laughter. Now here in this desert state, I wonder how to recapture the feelings I had before without constantly dreaming of a vacation. I don’t think location limits happiness, but what you’re doing definitely does. Happiness, or at least the things that lead to happiness, can be a replicated anywhere.
Here’s my short list list on how to get happy, easy and free.
1. Do Something You Love Every Day. Not because you have to or it’s routine. Run to get fresh air, not to get skinny. Craft to create, not to make money. Read to enjoy, not to debate.
2. Be Near Green Things. Make time to be outdoors every day, breath real air.
3. Create a Community of Friends. My recent birthday wishes reminded me that I know and am loved by people all over the globe. Even though they aren’t my neighbors, my world is bigger because of the socially aware innovative life-changers I know everywhere.
4. Laugh. Make your life a comedy not a tragedy.
5. Fall in Love. Not with someone else. With yourself, with what you’re doing, with what you’re creating. Because you, little human, standing on a surfboard in the middle of your ocean are pretty amazing. Fall in love and lovely things follow.
For now, I meditate on the moments of pure joy I’ve had; jumping off the side of a sailboat to feel like a mermaid with friends, drinking wine in Chicago bar with someone I love, sinking into fresh powder alone at the top of a snowy run.
I know I get to keep these forever, with so many more to come.
And I know life’s too short not to be surfing, so I’ll be there again too, soon.
Do you have your own to add? Please share in the comments!