I never saw her before.
For a moment, I am awestruck. I watch her move seamlessly through the ocean water, her surfboard tucked tightly beneath her arm. She is confident with each and every movement made. Purposeful. She is undoubtedly on a mission.
She trudges through the ocean floor and dodges the rough, crashing surf without hesitation. From afar, it is easy to spot her out to sea with her bright orange surfboard moving through the air, popping in and out of the waves like a small fishing bobber.
I continue to watch as this woman rides a colossal wave all the way to shore. As the water recedes, she steps off of her board, stands up and wraps the dark strap around her wrist. Her white, wet hair glistens in the sunlight and her bright smile glances over at the lifeguards as she gives them a “thumbs up.” She slowly turns toward the water, tucks the orange board beneath her arm and heads back out to sea. She repeats this process, each and every time smiling, laughing, and giving a thumbs up to anyone who watches her ride the waves. This woman is having the time of her life and it isn’t until she gets completely out of the water and onto the beach that I am able to see her close up.
This woman is no young girl. This woman is easily approaching eighty years-old.
Here’s a woman, who, at her age is surfing in the ocean like she were a teenager. I am captivated by her audacity, spontaneity, and exuberance. Enjoying the ocean is obviously a passion for her and she doesn’t allow her age to dictate what she can or cannot do.
I started thinking to myself and wondering, hoping I live to see that age.
I hope I will be fit enough at that point in my life to have the ability to hop on a surf board and ride the waves, carefree.
I hope I walk this earth with the same spunk and confidence this woman clearly exudes.
I begin to think this woman has it all until I watch her wrap herself in a towel and sit in a beach chair, alone. She is staring out at the sea, taking in the scenery. A few moments later, another older couple joins her but there are no children or grandchildren to be found. Maybe her husband passed away. Maybe she’s divorced. Maybe she never married or had kids. Maybe her kids live in another state and she doesn’t see them often. Maybe this is the way she had planned her life at near 80. Or maybe she had her whole life planned at a young age and that plan didn’t turn out the way she had hoped…
I am a planner.
I have the next ten years planned, or at least I think I do. But watching this woman on the beach made me realize, although we may have the best intentions, nothing in life will always go as planned.
I have witnessed countless colleagues and friends who didn’t plan on some of the ways their lives took shape; one who suffered a stroke and was never the same wife, mother, or friend again.
Or a colleague who worked her whole life planning for retirement only come to find out shortly after she retired, her husband died. She spent her golden years alone.
Or the friend with three kids who lost her husband to cancer at 46.
Or the loved one who lost everything to addiction.
So this begs to ask the question – am I truly living my best life? Am I living each and every day with true intention? Regardless of the plans I make or the plans I keep secret, am I caught up in the actual plan itself or trying to make it happen instead of really living?
I want to continue reading and writing. Over the past year, I’ve read tons and tons of books. I am devouring the written word and it makes me so happy. I’ve slipped under the radar of social media which does not have a huge place in my life anymore. Instead, books and experiences do. Books and life experience have replaced the endless swipe of nonsense on my phone that would suck hours of my life away. Granted, there is a time and place for social but now it only consumes a fraction of my life and I am in total control. It’s absolutely liberating.
I want to travel more. I want my kids to learn about places we’ve never seen which we can explore, together.
I want to try new gluten-free foods.
I want experiences, real life experiences that move me.
I want to make conscious decisions with purpose. I want meaning in my life.
I want to make special memories with the people I love that will last forever.
I want cherished time with my husband, family, and close friends.
I want to step out of my comfort zone.
I want to push myself and continue to challenge myself.
I want to be an amazing wife and mom.
I want to be an effective educator.
I want to be inspired and I want to inspire others.
I want to ride waves on a bright orange surfboard at eighty years-old. Will it happen even though I’m planning on it? I don’t know. I know it’s what I want. I suppose that’s the only thing I know for sure.
What can I teach my daughter in all of this?
Be confident, my girl. Move through the water and this life with clear intent and purpose. Make every action and moment count. Work hard for what you want and in the end….
Get out there and ride the wave, my girl.