It has already happened, someone has just told me next week is going to be pumping. Perfect waves, off-shore, small tides, to be concise, heaven. I have a new board in the garage with fresh wax, am fighting fit and ready. It just so happens that this is one of the most anxious times I will ever have as a surfer. Why? Because I am going on holiday, yep, I am not going to be here.
For months my lovely wife has been planning a family holiday, I have helped (obvs) but it’s mostly down to her. My son is super amped, it’s going to be great. Only one thing. FOMO which to give its long name, Fear Of Missing Out.
I have spent the last two weeks becoming more and more anxious, trying to pretend that that week does not exist on my surf calender, dodging conversations based around long range swells and charts. I actually physically stick my fingers in my ears and hum when friends start to talk about it. The lid has now been blown off it, a friend has happily informed me it will be pumping via social media. It is too late to take it back.
I keep telling myself, there will be other waves, other times. I live in a place which is blessed with consistent waves, I should be able to handle it for a week. I should be looking forward to time spend with those I love, but it’s just not turning out like that. The addict is rearing it’s ugly head, that part of my psyche that dominates in times when the isobars collaborate to supply the drug it needs.
Surfing, I have come to realise, is simultaneously the best and worst thing for a healthy life. Like any addiction, it needs to be kept in check, the psychological battle is constant and relevant. Sometimes not knowing is the best way. I can deal with the “you should have been here yesterday” thing as it’s passed and I can look to the future, but to KNOW it’s going of at your local break, your mates are hooting and calling each other in, is there anything better?
Time to grow up and shut the voices out of my head. The addict needs to understand who runs the show and when it’s time to quit. But it’s easier said than done.
Just this morning, I found myself researching the nearest spot I could surf close to our holiday destination. An hour and a half’s drive and it looked like there might be a wave. How could I sneak a board into the car that was already going to be full? This would have to be done with the compliance of my loved ones. A quick conversation and the idea was squashed into oblivion. Family time was family time, not sitting on the beach waiting for my ugly alter ego to get his fix, I was told.
So now I finish packing the car with no board, no wettie, no hope. We have fun things planned, distractions but I know the FOMO will happen, the unwanted passenger will rear its head and dreams of what might have been will slide into my consciousness. It’s now how I deal with it.
I realise there are bigger problems out there and this might seem like a selfish, unimportant issue to many of you, but there will be those that identify with these key strokes. My message to you is, my brothers and sisters, you are not alone. I feel your pain.
They say that the first way to deal with an addiction is to first admit you have one. Step one, done. Now it’s onwards to step 2. No waves for a bit, wish me luck.
Oh and by the way, thanks Mac for the wave update, I will be sure to buy you a beer when I return from the one hundred percent best holiday I have ever had.