There is a Japanese proverb, “Nana korobi ya oki”, which when translated means something close to seven falls, eight get ups.
Same goes for me and trying to learn to surf.
Trying to life, really.
Seven falls, eight get ups.
I didn’t just grab a board, head out into the big blue, and pull some slick moves that would make Kelly Slater proud. Rather, I convinced my dear friend Julia (who doesn’t like wetsuits or the ocean, really) to come with me. Then we got Dougie to teach us, coz we didn’t know jack.
It’s great if you are blessed with friends who are happy to be there when you fall, and get back up. You don’t need quantity, you just need quality. The good ones reciprocate – no questions asked.
My reciprocation was that I agreed to attempt pole fitness/ dancing with her. I would not call what I did with the pole fitness or dancing. Pole humiliation perhaps, but definitely not dancing – or fitness. Live and learn.
We (Julia and I) had decided to be a little braver, live a little more, and have some fun. Start getting back up.
It was kind of the start of my year of being extra brave, and writing the book (hello shameless plug). You know, the brave part that is trying new stuff, or trying stuff you thought you had forgotten. Fall over, laugh hysterically about it, cry if need be, and then get the heck back up.
Sometimes that falling over feels like you are the lone chip amongst a flock of seagulls listening to the constant cries of “Mum! Mum! Muuum! MUUUUUUMMM!”
The constant cries you hear might sound different, but hopefully you can relate. You can feel paralysed by the responsibilities and weight of life, work, family, doing the right thing. Paralysed, like a chip.
Feeling like the lone chip is isolating.
Then, you kinda wish there was another chip sitting next to you on the beach so you could silently look at each other with a knowing look of “Babe, I get it. Remember the days when we were just potatoes dreaming of becoming vodka instead of a deep fried chip for seagulls?”
If you are fortunate, you are not a chip or a potato (I mean, potatoes do have eyes, so if a potato reads this blog, I hope it’s friends with a lady finger banana that can type). Sorry. Couldn’t help myself. My bad.
If you are fortunate, you were gifted with some knocks so you know how valuable your life is, and how important you actually are. Those sads that come with the fall downs – they really are little reminders that your worth is not at full potential.
They are little reminders that you are still learning how to surf. There is still worthy work to do on you.
Maybe you need to let love in. Maybe you need to ask for help. Maybe you need to dig deep and find your centre again.
Maybe you need to push past that woman whispering in your ear.
That woman who speaks words that you are too old, too awkward, too uneducated, too unco, too poor, too “not good enough”.
When she is too much of a tidal wave of self sabotage. When she brings you down, because she is trying to keep you safe, find the girl who wanted to learn to surf.
Let that girl get back up in place of the woman.
Let that girl say ah f*ck it. I’ll have a crack anyway. I’ve gotten up before.
It’s not easy when you feel the pressure of all the seagulls.
It is doable. It just needs a little tweak.
Change the story, or the process. I mean, it’s all tiny little adjustments that are the difference between catching the wave and getting dumped.
If you are fortunate, you will realise that you have people around you that you can say – umm I need help learning to surf, or learning to build a website, or learning to get through this day, or learning to be a little kinder to me.
You are worth the eight, very brave, get ups.
Heck, you are worth the 99 gazillion very brave get ups.
And you don’t need to do the get ups alone.
I hope you have a few Julia’s in your life to get up with and be grateful for.