As a bit of a follow up to my post last week “Everyone has a story’, I realized part of our story has a lot to do with our life experiences. As such I started thinking about the coolest things I’ve done in my life.
Now in this regard I’m not talking about the obvious ones like falling in love, getting married, having children or graduating from college (which by the way was a big deal for me as it took me seven years and seven colleges to do so). While they are all really great, at the same time they are pretty easy to list.
What I am refereeing to are the experiences we’ve had that are super challenging, possibly life changing, enriching and out of the ordinary.
While I am no world traveler or adrenaline junky that takes on extreme challenges, as I thought about the topic I realized I’ve done some pretty cool stuff that I’ve come to realize that not everyone has done or would do.
Between work and personal travel I have been lucky enough to have visited nearly every state except Alaska, Utah and Idaho and have even done limited traveling in Canada and England. I have also surfed on all of our coasts including Hawaii and participated in almost every sport imaginable except Rugby and Cricket.
As such, it was hard for me to pick out the five coolest things I’ve done. So below are the top five in no particular order of importance.
- Whenever I watch surfers tackling really large surf I wonder how on earth they can take on such dangerous waves. But when I think about my own experiences, while the waves I’ve ridden don’t compare to the massive walls that are currently being attacked, at the same time, some were pretty darn intimidating. The first time I rode really big waves was at Ocean Beach on Fire Island back in 1966. The swell in the water that day was well over 10′ and nasty. On that day there was only one other surfer who paddled out with me and he didn’t even dare to paddle into a wave. I made my first wave but got drilled on my second and nearly drowned. In 1994 I paddled out into a massive hurricane swell in the 10-15′ range at Avon Beach, NC where I scored some epic rides and nearly ate it after going over the falls on a extremely steep bomb. For a guy who at a young age could barely dip his toe in the ocean and who was often called Chicken of the Sea I feel those were defining events in my life.
- One time while playing basketball my nose got crushed so badly that it had collapsed against the side of my face. After looking at myself in the reflection of a piece of glass I was so grossed out that I decided to try and reset it myself. Somehow, miraculously, I managed to reset it about as well as any doctor could have (they actually told me that when my wife finally got me to have a doctor check it out). Sure I was lucky as I could have disfigured myself but still I think it was pretty cool. One other time I broke my wrist so badly that only the flesh was still connected. I tried to put it back but it didn’t work.
- While not terribly un-ordinary but at the same time super rewarding, I’d have to say that being a snowboard and surfing instructor has to be two of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Taking beginners, especially those who are scared or intimidated, out onto the slopes or surf and watching the smiles on their faces and helping them experience a feeling of accomplishment as they catch their first wave or make it down the slope, always makes me feel a lot better than any fat paycheck I’ve ever received while in industry. I guess that’s why so many instructors work at those endeavors for either little or no pay.
- One year when I had to get my snowboard certification renewed the only clinic available in my area was a “Big air and rail clinic”. I have to admit, at the age of fifty-three I was pretty intimidated by it. When I got to the ski resort and signed in I found that the average age of the participants was around twenty-three and the closest other participant in age to me was around thirty-eight. While I was terrorized throughout most of the event and could barely walk afterwards, I took on every challenge including the pro jump, the rails and even riding switch (opposite foot forward) through the trees on our last run of the day. Completing the event was a real confidence builder but earning the respect of the other younger boarders was an even bigger thrill.
- Writing my novel and the screenplay version of it was, to me a great accomplishment. Based on my high school and college accomplishments or, more accurately, the lack their of, neither I or my teachers would have ever believed I could accomplish such a feat. To be honest, even after writing my life’s story “Chicken of the Sea” (much more on these events are in my personal story) I still didn’t consider myself to be a serious writer. After completing my novel “The Nonconformist” and the screenplay version of it and now nearing completion of my second novel, I finally consider myself a serious writer and am always looking to improve on my skills.
So now that I’ve shared with you my five coolest accomplishments please let me know what yours are/were. And if you don’t think you can name five if you think harder you’ll probably come up with them. If not then get out there and create your own coolest things. Thanks again for checking in, have a great week and I’ll see you next week.