What happens to you when it’s been flat for weeks? If you’re like me, the answer is probably something like fade into a smaller and smaller space inside your mind until everything you do feels like a prison, and your only thought is, “I’d rather be surfing.” Sound about right? Now imagine you’ve been living somewhere that doesn’t have waves; and not only that, but not even an ocean. What state of mind do you think you would fall into after being in this place for a week? A month? Three months? At this moment in my life, this hypothetical scenario is real. So what have I been doing to keep myself from falling off the deep end? Here are just a few of them. Hopefully they can give you inspiration if you ever find yourself away from the ocean for an extended amount of time.
Staying open. This is the number one thing I try to focus on doing. Staying open to new ideas and activities is the best thing you can do. You never know what’s out there. And maybe you’ll find something that fills your soul in the same way surfing does. I can’t say I’ve yet to find something that satisfies me like surfing, but some of the new workouts that people I’ve met have been teaching me definitely give me a lasting sense of fulfillment.
Learning how to play an instrument. I’ve been playing guitar for almost 16 years, and what I’ve learned is that there’s always something new to learn. What I’m learning right now is how to jam with other people. Anywhere you go there’s bound to be a guitar. Learn two chords and you can write a song. You know the Sublime song “What I Got?” It’s two chords the whole song. Do you like reggae? 50% of reggae songs are only two chords. It doesn’t seem like it because they put so much feeling and variation into the melodies. The easiest chords to play that will sound good together are D Major and G Major (which are also the chords for the Sublime song).
Learn a new language. I’m lucky because my girlfriend is from Italy and she’s very social. Because of this, I’m constantly surrounded by Italians, which has given me a lot of opportunity to practice hearing and listening. I’m still pretty bad, and can only pick up about 10% of what’s being said, but those moments when something clicks and I get it, they give me a sensation similar to the triumph felt after falling surfing over and over then finally landing a new trick. Even if you’re in a place where the language is the same as yours, chances are that there will be slang words and colloquialisms you can learn – you don’t have to be in China to challenge your language skills.