When reading earlier today about how the third richest man in America is buying all the most expensive homes on Malibu beach, I considered that maybe this man is really miserable inside, and would be more happy just sitting on a public beach and enjoying the sunshine. I don’t know how life could get any better than this, but I’m an old time surfer, rather than a billionaire, so there is a piece of logic or reasoning that we simply do not share.
My years of surfing may be about over, but my admiration and study of the waves continues. Waves are made of water, the same water that is there when there are no waves. As much as I loved riding the waves when younger, I remain near the water and enjoy it even when I can see no waves. Surfing the waves required that I be watchful and appreciative of their energy. Part of the thrill of being on a wave is that feeling of being in synchronization with the natural forces that go all over the world and yet come here to me from afar. There is an unspoken language of the waves that all surfers understand and agree upon. Maybe billionaires share something too, but it just does not seem to be in their nature.
When I began to lose my natural balance and strength, which can happen pretty easily by the age of 64, I began to see the ocean and the waves somewhat differently. I must still be going through that transition from actively riding waves to merely observing them. They look different to me when sitting on the beach in a chair instead of out in the water on a surfboard. Today I made sure to see what is in front of me this day, this lovely warm day in early May, rather than turn back time in my mind and see myself riding waves twenty or thirty years ago. When I could live in the moment of this day today, I was able to acquire the same sense of invigoration and joy that I experienced years ago. If I were to step back and wander through memories from long ago, the experience of going and sitting on the beach today would have felt so dull and lifeless.
My memories are a rich land to go visit for a quick spell, particularly when I look for temporary comfort in entering a state of reverie. If I dwell too much on memories, however, I feel stale and moldy. There is more to see and do as I continue living. When young I had lots of energy just bubbling out of me at all times and not much memory, so I found it easy to jump headlong into living each moment to its fullest. Now I have less energy, more memories, and possess a natural inclination to be reflective or meditative.
Being present in the moment takes more conscientious effort and focus than when I was young, but there are less days ahead, so the ones I can live in more fully now seem more important to me than those many that slipped by me earlier in life without me hardly noticing. Time sometimes seems motionless to me, and on other occasions seems to pass me by in a whirlwind. Each day the volume or flow of time seems different to me than the day before. Perhaps some of that has to do with my varying awareness of the passage of it. The challenge is to be able to observe the passage of not just days, but of moments, rather than hiding from them in memories or in unrealized wishes for Malibu beach homes.