From lonely to thankful

Lonely and thankful

Alone, left out, a weirdo. That is all I am feeling right now.

This is not the first time I feel like I do at this moment, I’ve been experiencing the same for so long that I’ve accepted it like an old friend. And somehow I’ve got to the conclusion that there might be something wrong inside me, like an engine with a fault. I do not work properly or else I wouldn’t be friends with this feeling. I already know how this ends.

They stood me up, again: we should have met right here and walk together to a beach a couple of kilometers from here to surf a promising swell, but no one showed up. But today is going to be different, I’m not going back home to sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself, to think about all those times I’ve been through this same loneliness. I’m not going to hide at home for the whole day to avoid those that didn’t want to spend their time with me. I’m not going to feel ashamed.

I’m going to surf.

It’s Sunday, 5:30 AM, dark and silent, the world sleeps. It’s one of those humid mornings that leave my clothes wet. Like in a hurry I start walking, pushing hard against the floor, it is going to be a 40 minutes trip by foot on the dirt path that goes by the shore. Everything’s so quiet that the only sound I can hear are my steps and the branches breaking under my feet. When the path gets close to the only road nearby I can hear cars from the distance, with a sound a bit intimidating over this solemn silence. I feel a tiny knot in my stomach like if something bad is going to happen, not sure what. I feel unease, so I decide to speed up.

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After what it seems ages I arrive at the alley that leads to this beach. Thank God, the scary trip is over. This sketchy alley is no more than 50cm wide with unpainted gray cold concrete walls. It looks even uglier right now. There’s no other way to get there so I decide to ignore the sensation that tells me this is wrong and go ahead, tightening the knot a bit more. My fists are so tight that my fingers hurt. “Come on, hold your breath and walk fast”. I made it.

I leave the backpack and board on the floor to scout the horizon with this poor light. All I can see are shapes, ones brighter than the others and one of those shapes seem bigger than the rest and I take it as a signal: it must be a wave. Drums start playing on my ribcage with the rhythm of a happy song while I start putting the wetsuit on. The tiny knot I was wearing all the way here, unties as I imagine the great time I’m going to have.

Like a kid on Christmas morning, I walk towards the water, stepping on ice cold rocks. When the icy water touches my feet I look up again to check the waves again. The sun hasn’t gone up yet, but I say to myself this light is enough and that there’s no way back. Standing on a big rock I jump forward and land with my chest on the surfboard and start paddling hardest than ever. The drums on my chest are still playing and the song is getting happier. The icy water makes it into the wetsuit and feels like an energy shot.

Thirty minutes is the time the sun needs to rise and turn the sky yellow, the time it takes this idea to grow: I am a privileged guy because I was the only one that enjoyed this show from the water. I had to be here alone, I had to feel loneliness, I had to feel angst. All those feelings were necessary to appreciate the privilege of watching this sunrise, to appreciate the courage of walking alone at night, to understand that fear is an essential part of any adventure.

I wish I can feel this knot in my stomach more often, that way I knew I’m about to live and adventure.

The next for hours are dedicated to appreciation and surfing perfect waves. It is one of those swells that happen once a year, and I’m the grateful and only person that has enjoyed it. I wish I can feel this knot in my stomach more often, that way I knew I’m about to live and adventure.

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