I teach middle schoolers, so I know what passes for love these days. They swap boyfriends and girlfriends as regularly as they shower, which, if the stench in my classroom is any indication, is maybe once a week. As soon as they enter into a new “relationship,” they’re professing their undying love for one another by way of text message. I know that this is not love.
My gal and me, now that’s love. It wasn’t what you’d call love at first sight; we spent a few months getting to know each other. It seemed like a summer fling at first, but I couldn’t get her out of my mind all that winter. By the following spring, we were reunited, and head-over-heels would be an understatement.
I built my life and my living around her, and we inhaled the sweet smell of success. All told, we racked up over a million bucks. The money is irrelevant, of course, a fringe benefit that I refused to let affect our bond. For 30 years we’ve ridden a wave of love, and our commitment has never wavered. I won’t speak for her, but I’m still smitten.
We don’t, you know, get it on as much as we used to, but that’s to be expected at this stage of our relationship. We used to go at it a few times a day. Now, it’s more like a few times a week on average. When we do, it’s as good as it ever was. And when we’re not together, I’m thinking about her. No matter what I’m doing, she never escapes my mind.
Which brings me to my present predicament. I’m finally ready to acknowledge the extent to which she has ruled my life. Every decision I’ve ever made was so I could be close to her, and the rest of my life has suffered. This relationship has defined me, causing me to miss out on countless opportunities. You might say she’s a bit of a control freak.
I’ve been wondering what might have been had we never met, and this introspection has brought me to a crossroads. I need to find out who I am. If I don’t get out now, I fear it’ll never happen. We’ll just wither away together and die.
So I’m ending it.
Not forever, I’m not ready to go that far. Call it a trial separation. For one year, all of 2014, I am turning my back on the sea. I will not get on a surfboard, I will not paddle out, nor will I ride a single wave. Surfing will have to exist without me.
After that, we’ll see what happens. I might come back, or I might not. Either way, I’ll take things one day at a time, and I’ll be the one calling the shots. Like Eminem said, “Imma take control of this relationship, command it, and imma be the boss of you now goddamnit.”
NOTE: Throughout 2014 this blog will chronicle my year without surfing. In addition, I will look back at events from my surfing life as well as provide more explanation about why I’m doing it. It’s been barely a few weeks so far, and I’m already cringing. Thanks for joining me in what promises to be an interesting ride.