Ride The Tide

Matthew - Concord, New Hampshire
Entered on April 1, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe my current state is just a snapshot in life, a checkpoint of where I am headed. Beliefs are never set in stone; they change like the weather of Northern New England. One day it is sunny, joyous, and serene; the next it is rainy, miserable, and hectic. Riding these ebbs and flows of life like a surfer does the wave is my way of making it from one day to the next. Remaining on my surfboard can be difficult when I am no longer paddling through the waters alone; family, friends, and other relationships are constantly vying for a place atop my board. Maintaining my balance is something I have learned over time, like a young child learns to bicycle training wheel free. This balancing act is just as imperative as being able to survive and learn from the thrashing of the waves when I catch an edge or try to balance more weight than my board can handle.

As a young teen participating in multiple highly accelerated sports, my competitive juices developed more quickly than other kids my age. My parents began to notice my highly competitive nature when I began to treat nearly all aspects of life as something to be won or lost. The first to finish eating dinner, best cribbage record, first one to the dock out on the lake; I had no difficulty making everything a competition. This aggressive personality trait highlighted my drive to succeed and also showed how much I wanted to be in control of my own life. This quality is what gave me the initial confidence and might necessary to brave the surging tide in the first place.

It is cinchy to get caught up in the competition and only concern oneself with what the scoreboard reads in the closing minutes; I can easily become emotionally charged with the potential of losing my head. By losing my composure I risk a gnarly wipeout. It only took a few of these wipeouts before I began to learn to harness my emotions and in turn my mind. Remaining stable, no matter what may be going on around me, allows me to locate and lock into the “zone”; making everything around me more manageable. This unflappable state that I am able to practice fairly regularly is my secret to smoothly catching wave after wave. My balance has become impeccable over time; however, if I were to try and ride a wave in real life I would certainly taste the salt water of the ocean; for I have never gone surfing.