Reaching the Crest I pause. I observe. I prepare. For that one moment when everything aligns to make the conditions just right. A pearl among moments—appearing only to the experienced eye—offering a limitless flow of adrenaline. At this very instant, I take off. Every time, I do not let off; I do not hold back. This moment is special, unique, and substantial: a part of life too precious to live half-heartedly. In this moment, I know I am alive. As I begin to move swiftly over the sand, every step takes me closer towards my next goal. The need for balance reverberates through my head as I break through the white wash. If I do not balance correctly—with the proper weight across the board—I will immediately plunge head first into the water: a fate I have experienced time and time again when I cling to the safety of the ground. However, if I stretch myself over the water while still retaining balance, I clear the incoming tide and move toward the wave as it approaches me. The prevailing wave crests, I turn sharp and come back the way I first came—riding the wave like a surfer. At this very moment, I forget to think; I do not want to think, just live. Everything collaborates to create this one experience—nature with itself and I with nature—lasting mere seconds in time, but washing away the stress of life. I begin to feel the world drop out from under me; the total peace of mere milliseconds ago begins to grow frail, and reality floods back. I prepare to airdrop out of the wave and complete the ride. Sometimes, it is too late: water engulfs me and I tumble toward the beach. Regardless, I do not feel scared; I feel elated—the risk I am willing to take has reaped its reward—the fleeting sensation of true alignment within my universe. Just as every step in skimboarding brings me closer to the wave; in life, every step brings me closer to a full connection of body and mind. Replicating this connection repeatedly results in triumph over many of life’s risks. In skimboarding, anything can happen—an ankle can snap or a leg can break—but risks are an essential part of the process, a key component of life. In fact, what would life be if I never took a risk? Would I propose a math-tutoring program at school—with the chance of being rejected? Would I participate in soccer, running, and other adrenaline-producing sports—possibly increasing the chance of damaging my body? Would I even apply to college? Life itself is a risk, yet risks make it so very precious. The power of risk is the choice to actively pursue goals. The risks taken in skimboarding and life parallel each other, the outcomes identical in effect. As the risks of skimboarding rapidly accumulate in my mind, they briskly flood back out once my front foot lands on the middle of the board. Even as the thought of falling rushes from my perception, I reach the wave and achieve that primal experience of living in the moment. Thus, I realize, without taking a risk, I would never experience a full connection of body and mind. Life is too finite to not take such chances. I embrace this lesson learned from past and present mentors. Those of the past, I can refer to only in bitter sweet memory, as they are absent in the present, further emphasizing the fragility of human existence. Those of the present continue to teach me the value of risk and the importance of exploring the fugacious equilibrium between the wave and I: whether in facing college decisions, my parents’ present separation and probable divorce, or even in exploring my own spirituality. The wave analogy provides a template for the way I try to live my life—especially as fear invades my perception the instant before the apex is attained. The climax of success is what I strive for; the pinnacle moment that impacts my approach toward life. To reach such apogee within the flux of the wave, through the attainment of my own fluidity, in an ongoing fight against complacency—this is what I have learned; this is my life’s future endeavor.
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