In the summer of 1997

You’re not going to believe this, but in the early summer of 1997, I played with the idea of moving to the Oregon coast and learning to surf.

beachI was about to graduate high school in Salem, Oregon, so the coast was only 1 hour away. My parents lived a few hours away, in the middle of the state, and I was kind of a nomad until college started in the fall.

Why not learn to surf?

I was never athletic or even physically active in high school, but I felt drawn to the ocean. I wanted to be in it. I wanted to be that girl on a surfboard, riding the waves in the sunset. I wanted to spend evenings on the beach, huddled around a fire after a long day in the water.

It never happened.

Instead, I worked at a shoe store in the mall and moved from apartment to apartment, wherever there was a roommate vacancy.

Why? Why didn’t I take that crazy trip and become a surfer?


It sounds cliche, but it was plain old fear.

I was afraid of finding a roommate on the coast, where I didn’t know anyone. What if I didn’t like her? What if I couldn’t find a job? What if I couldn’t find anyone to teach me how to surf? (First of all, I was even quieter in high school than I am now, and I’d have to actually ask someone to teach me! Terrifying.) What if I wasn’t strong enough?

But what if I became a surfer girl and never looked back?

I would live in a little shack by the ocean and sell necklaces made of sea shells. I would start wearing floral prints and flip flops all the time. Of course I would have to dreadlock my hair, and I wouldn’t finish college.

My love of the ocean scared me away. I was afraid I would love it too much that I wouldn’t do what was expected of me… what I expected of myself… to go to college, get good grades, and get a job. I was “too smart” for all that dreamy surfing stuff.

That summer of ‘97 has been haunting me for the past week or so. As it turns out, my family needed me that summer so it’s probably for the best, but this has stuck in my brain as one of my biggest regrets. I try to live my life avoiding potential regrets, probably because of this surfing thing.

I don’t have any big crazy dreams right now. I work at home and run my own business that I created. It’s totally unique and I love it. But what’s my “move to the coast and learn to surf” dream now?

Maybe I don’t need one anymore. I have goals around my work, a mission in the world, and a passion for travel. Now I get to work at home, travel to places like Prague, and swim in the Mediterranean. That feels pretty good!

Tell me…

What’s your “move to the coast and learn to surf” story? Did you do it? What dream do you have that is so big it scares you? Tell me in the comments so I know I’m not alone.

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