This is what I learned this past weekend while I was in California for the first annual girls trip with my middle/high school friends. Five girls (and one baby), all friends since we were boy-band loving teens, piled into a boat: all sipping coffee and smoothies, all tired from staying up too late laughing the night before. We each took our turns behind the boat: jumping into the lukewarm lake water, situating the board, nervously giving the signal that we were ready and closing our eyes as the boat revved its engine, hoping we would pop right up and enjoy the ride.
Jess stood up on her first try.
Danielle and Riannon stood up after one fall.
Erica fell three times before standing right up.
I fell ten times before I stood up.
My friends seemed to pop right up with ease, while I flailed like a fish out of water. Jess's dad would yell encouraging tips from his captain's chair: "bend your knees! Let the boat do the work!", yet no matter how hard I tried, I always ended up flat on my face with a mouth full of water, my penchant for competition getting the better of me every time.
By my sixth try I was convinced I would never be able to wake surf and was ready to give up. My friends could see my frustration (and by that I mean I was screaming profanities like a sailor), but kept shouting words of encouragement; pushing me to keep trying even though my arms were on fire and my legs wanted to give out. I fell three more times, shouted a dozen more profanities and I begged them to let me climb back in the boat, where I was safe and there was coffee. Nope, they all said in unison, just give it one more try.
Danielle shouted "DON'T RUSH IT!"
Jess shouted "IT'S ALL ABOUT BALANCE!"
I placed my feet, I grabbed the rope. The boat revved it's engine, and I closed my eyes. "Just let me stand up, just let me enjoy the ride!"
I felt the boat start to pull me. I bent my knees. I didn't rush it. I let the boat do the work. I found my balance. I stood up. It felt like it took me a million years, but I finally got there. My friends cheered and we went home to have margaritas on the back deck.
The truth is: I wish I could be one of those girls who "get it" on the first try. I wish I could pop right up without any coaching, choose a salad over a cupcake and get that promotion one month after starting a new job but the reality is: I'm just not that lucky. For me, success has come from hard work, tenacity and having a group of supportive friends to weather the storm with me. One of the most exciting things about my life is the fact that I've ended up exactly where I was supposed to be, right on time. It taken hard work but it also the ability to grab the rope, place my feet and let the boat carry me for awhile. And when I've fall, and I have fallen, and I will likely fall again, I've been able to pop right back up and try again because I know I'm not floating in those waters alone.
Wake surfing is hard, but I was able to get up because I have them: my cheerleaders, the ones who knew me when I had braces and thought JTT was going to be my husband. They give me advice, they push me when I want to give up, they keep my grounded and they read this blog everyday and blow smoke up my ass about how much they love it. I find myself lucky to be floating through life with them.
My friendships are my biggest success.