Do you like sucking? Or does it break your heart and haunt you in your dreams and across every waking second of your life?
The surf world was rocked this past week when a long-time adult learner wrote convincingly of the joys of being a kook for ultra-left wing Brit newspaper The Guardian.
The Adelaide-based writer Kerri Duncan, a “thirty-something” who has been “surfing for almost twenty years” says despite two decades in the ocean she still “frolics in the whitewater with the little tackers, whooping when I manage to stand up on a wave like a kid cycling for the first time without training wheels.”
It’s the sort of return on investment that would have most wannabe surfers quitting the sport in disgust.
But, not Duncan.
“Supportive friends and well-wishers have suggested I take lessons, offered to be my mentor, or insisted I could improve if I trained harder. The implication is if I’m passionate about something, I should also be proficient. I say thanks, but I’m happy being a below-average surfer.
“While I get a sense of fulfilment from developing certain skills, I want to reserve some activities purely for imperfect pleasure. I would go so far as to say I need to reserve some activities purely for imperfect pleasure, for the sake of my mental health.
“Psychologists have been spruiking the positive effects of hobbies on psychological wellbeing for years; we get those essential happy hormones from losing ourselves in a chosen activity, giving us a sense of meaning and purpose, while being blissfully distracted from everyday stressors.
“When I focus too much on getting better at something, it creates room for failure. I don’t want to fail in my relaxation time – I just want to go with the flow and soak in the fun. No pressure, only carefree, uncomplicated enjoyment. I simply want to enjoy the ride.”
And, in words that will be a salve to anyone who’s been plateauing at a low-to-intermediate level for years, Duncan writes,
“I don’t need to improve at something in order to enjoy it. If I find an activity that brings me simple happiness, I can permit myself to treasure it as it is – whether I objectively suck at it or not.”
Do you like sucking? Or does it break your heart and haunt you in your dreams and across every waking second of your life, your asshole puckering at the sight of any wave over six feet?
I stand in group two.