But I still had fun! Which is difficult for me when I am not any good at something. I like being good at things. I know my friends and family will have a really hard time believing that (hah.hah.), but it’s true! My self competitiveness is one of my biggest strengths as well as one of my biggest faults. It drives me to work hard and get better but it also drives me down internally. Being good at things is my own form of self validation. I always wanted to be a fast swimmer, a great friend, a strong athlete, a successful student, an incredible nurse, a stylish chick, an entertaining host, etc. It doesn’t matter how significant or insignificant, I want to be good at everything. But alas, I am not and I often struggle to feel confident among my shortcomings. It is in fact, normal, to not be good at everything. Now when I really think about it I realize I would like myself less if I was good at everything. That would be no fun at all and I probably wouldn’t be that enjoyable of a person to be around. Who likes perfect people? No one. It’s just been a silly measure of self-confidence for me that it is in fact a big waste of time! So, surfing in Sri Lanka has been a lesson for me in this: feeling successful among my shortcomings.
Every time I stand up on my surfboard, I fall down. Whether it’s a half second later or just before I reach the beach, I eventually fall down. I catch waves every now and again, but they are not graceful nor particularly pretty to watch. In my own way, I am successful. I am not the dutch girls who are ripping waves with the boys all day long. Looking so much cooler than I could ever be and definitely the most badass chicks on the beach. I am not the Sri Lankan beach bums who can stand up on their surfboards with their eyes closed. I am not the quick learning “are you sure you haven’t done this before?” beginner I was hoping to be. Although on my first day I did fool people into thinking I had. Beginners luck. It’s been downhill every day since. But it is okay. I am surfing in Sri Lanka. I am teaching myself how to do something I’ve never done before. I am smiling. I am making new friends. I am learning to enjoy something I am not good at. I am admiring the surfers around me. I have found a new sport that is fun and I can do all over the world. People are laughing at me but I am laughing at me too. I think I have been successful at surfing.
This is a measure of success on which I am judging myself for the first time, and I hope I can use it in future failures. Just like on my surfboard, I will always fall down. Whether it’s a big fall or just losing my balance a little bit, it’s still gonna happen. I am not perfect at anything, nor do I have to be. When I fall in the future, I will make a conscious effort to find the success in the shortcoming. Because it’s there somewhere, and we all deserve not to be so harsh on ourselves. I will also avoid holding others to my previously abused standard of success. If I’m not perfect, why do they have to be? They’re probably better than me at surfing, anyway. I will appreciate the successes of others as a measure of their attitude and effort. Not on whether or not they fall off their surfboard. Even the best surfers fall off, they wouldn’t be trying very hard if they didn’t.
This week of falling off my surfboard in Sri Lanka has been perfect. I have had only good days in this country, not of course, without a few bad moments. But Sri Lanka has been a success! I feel better about myself everyday and for reasons I never would have imagined. Traveling teaches you things you can’t learn in your own environment. I am so lucky to be having all these experiences, even the bad ones. (Like yesterday when my surfboard leash broke TWICE, and i was told to pay 6,000 rupees for a faulty product. An exercise in deep breathing.) I have just a few days left in this beautiful country and I am soaking it all in. Nothing went according to plan in Sri Lanka (like- I was supposed to embrace solitude, why am I having dinner with friends every night? I meant to go to Kandy and explore Sri Lankan culture, but my toes are still firmly in the sand. I was gonna go to surf camp, until I decided to become my own teacher) but it has been fantastic nonetheless. More to come on my Sri Lankan life in tomorrow’s post. Then… it’s on to Thailand!
I hope you all have time to laugh at your shortcomings today and think about finding somewhere to plan your next adventure. I’m going to go get back on my surfboard! See you later!