Chasing Mavericks

In Northern California there exists a relatively unknown surf area where 25 foot waves are notorious for crashing the shore.

Very few riders become big wave surfers; and of those, only a select few are willing to risk the hazardous, sometimes deadly, conditions at Mavericks.

While I’m not a fan of risking my life to achieve the ultimate high, I’ve come to the realization that some risks are necessary in life.

Without them, we stagnate and never become what we hope to be.

A few months ago I watched a movie on a flight called Chasing Mavericks, and was introduced to Jay Moriarity.

Jay was a soul surfer, and someone who sought to experience all the ocean had to offer. He had an unmatched respect for the waters he entered.

This is about more than just surfing. It’s about finding that one thing in life that’s sets you free.

He died a day before his 23rd birthday, in the Indian Ocean off the coast of the island Lohifushi in the Maldives, drowning in an apparent diving accident.

Jay went big, and set his sights as high as he could.

I often wonder how many of us can say the same thing about our own lives. Very seldom do I step outside my comfort zone and try new things.

There are many opportunities we have to ride the perfect wave — so many chances to live life to the fullest, but they remain missed opportunities.

The ultimate ride awaits us all in some fashion, but the question we need to ask ourselves is this — are we brave enough and willing to paddle out?

Repressing the Fear

Last week I read a post from John O’Nolan that resonated with me on so many levels. I wish that I wrote it, really I do, because it could not be a more accurate depiction of where I’m at these days.

The fear has set in. I feel it now more than ever. I delete more tweets than I send. I leave more blog posts half-written than I publish.

You might wonder why this is true for me, and the answer is simple — it’s fear.

Like a python wrapping itself around it’s prey, fear strangles me to a point of submission. It’s crippling, if you really want to know the truth.

I’ve been the “nice guy” for so long that I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t seen that way. Yes, it’s my own actions that have led to this, but that doesn’t mean I love the label.

Please don’t misunderstand what I just said. I’m simply saying there are so many times when I really wish that I could just be me.

But I get it, really I do. It’s the price I pay for living a public life and being a partner in a major software company. And John relates to this:

You start to be diplomatic and politically correct. You start to mould yourself into the shape of what everyone else expects you to be.

Completely agree with this — as sad is that might be.

I plan on repressing the fear that brought me to this stoic place in my life. And I might say some things that you don’t like or makes you feel uncomfortable.

I won’t apologize for that. Not because I’m insensitive to you and your feelings, but because I shouldn’t apologize for having mine.

I Was Here

For many years my wife Shelly and I walked the Susan G. Komen 3-Day, which is a 60-mile fundraising event to help raise money for breast cancer research.

In 2010 the theme for the event was a song by Lady Antebellum, called “I Was Here.” This isn’t particularly one of their most popular songs, but I can tell you it definitely left a mark on me.

At the time, it resonated with me from a philanthrophic standpoint — that by doing whatever I can to help save the lives of unknown women would make me feel like I was doing something special.

I wanna do something better, with the time I’ve been given and I wanna try to touch a few hearts in this life.

But as I get older, the song is starting to take on a different meaning.

I turn 40 in December, and the reality of dying has been ever so present in my mind lately. Probably too present, and I cannot stop thinking about it.

I’m sure going to see The Fault in Our Stars didn’t help the matter.

My love for people, especially those who are close to me, runs very deep. I want to be as intentional as I can, because at any given moment, I may no longer have the chance that I currently take for granted.

And I know that I will do more than just pass through this life — I’ll leave nothing less than something that says “I was here.”

That’s exactly what I want to be remembered by. I want the legacy that I leave to be as profound and evident as possible.

So here’s to saying how much you mean to me. Each and every one of you.