Photo Credit: Brian Thornhill Photo
Fluid Adventure Series – Entry 2: Get Stoked, Get Healthy
2 A.M. I found myself awake. But a different kind of awake. The physical stillness of a graveyard possessed my body, though my sensory abilities remained firing on all cylinders. A thundering crash had resurrected the dormant surfer that lie wrapped in a sleeping bag cocoon primered with cheap Target blankets. A scene virgin to the back of my Jeep Patriot, until that evening.
This had been the maiden voyage for my new black on black, roof rack clad adventure-mobile, and as I laid sprawled out in the back, car camping front and center in the Refugio Beach campsite my mind wondered.
This midnight roar of sorts. Had a fully loaded semi truck crashed through the guardrail above or, was the ocean beckoning me? Is it really possible that in a matter of hours the swell had picked up from dead flat to the point of audible comparison worthy of semi trucks and construction equipment? Skepticism turned to curiosity. Curiosity turned to excitement and excitement became lucid dreams of buttery smooth rights that fade into infinity.
6:30 rolls around and the first ray of sunlight pierces through my back windows tint illuminating a jambalaya of blankets, pillows and Clif Bar wrappers. This would have been nature’s wakeup call had I not been wide-eyed 30 minutes earlier warming up my wetsuit and waxing a shiny new Twin Fin thirsty for bottom turns and salt water.
Finally, golden rays of day light had one by one initiated their sea bound crawl over the Santa Ynez montains, and it was time to see what abstract mess of a picture the Pacific had painted overnight. As I round the corner of my overgrown and muddy campsite – the product of a dense effervescent Central Coast fog, I am able to make out small shapes peeling consistently off of Refugio’s fickle point. The size had died down considerably since the previous night’s show but the shape had manifested itself into a world class gem of moving water .
Two ladies in their mid 20’s were the first to make towards the beach – beautiful balsa wood longboards in hand. They radiated an electric sense of stoke for what the earth had provided that morning. The two helped each other traverse a rocky barrier separating terra firma and aquatic wonderland with swift grace. They eventually began the arduous paddle out to the point – the origin of these finely sculpted ramps of water, and the dance of perfect surf had begun. They read the surf reports and checked buoy data. The homework had been done and it was going to pay off in dividends.
At this point I was trying to decide whether I should roll the dice and continue south in search of better size, or stay and surf picture perfect 3 footers, then it strikes me – I am stoked. Totally stoked. Regardless of whether I surf here or there, North or South, left or right, I am frothing hard.
Enthusiasm, engagement, optimism and hopefulness. These are the top personal attributes that translate to plain and simple – better health. In 2007 Harvard Professor Laura Kubzansky concluded a 20 year study detailing the various biological effects of personality traits across a 6,000 person spectrum.
With emotional vitality reducing risk of coronary heart disease, and a positive correlation between number of social ties and life expectancy – there is definite data supporting the idea that positive mood results in better health. Kubzansky concedes that these states of being are roughly 40 percent heritable, which to some may seem like a large roadblock to happiness. But in retrospect 60 percent of wiggle room is indeed a lot.
Now how do you maximize that 60 percent for a happier and healthier you? Simple. Kubzansky recommends just “living in the here and now”. She says “Everyone needs to find a way to be in the moment.” “When I’m playing piano,” she explains, “I’m in the moment. I’m not worrying or thinking or trying to work out a problem. I’m just doing this thing that takes all my attention.” In conclusion, if living a healthier life is on your to-do list – be more stoked. Get pumped. Froth harder. Whatever your means to leveraging that 60 percent happens to be, get out there and do it. Your body will thank you.