Wave watching started out innocent enough, a novelty to post on Instagram.
The challenge was to come down before sunrise, sit on the beach steps and capture a moment that might rival a photo-shopped image.
Smooth sand stretched out in front me for metres. An occasional runner jogging at the edge of the water might pass by, or a couple might be out walking their dogs, but that was it. Just the locals.
Saltiness filled the air, you could almost taste it on your lips. The ocean breeze was chilling and crisp, moving through every strand of my hair and right through my body.
Calm waves would flow peacefully in and out, always disappearing into white effervescence.
If I was really lucky, those waves would take on a majestic roughness, thrashing high against an imaginary wall. Rays of sunlight would start to breakthrough a backdrop of smouldering clouds, in a way that I had only seen in my favourite Renaissance paintings. The sun would then fill the sky with burnt orange and red, or perhaps a dusky pink streaky mess.
As I watched, I would begin to be filled with ocean energy, a natural high that was more powerful than any caffeine or mind-altering substance you could ever take.
It was unbelievable; this was actually my life.
But those moments were rare.
Most of the time, it was just a standard beach scene, watching those waves ebb and flow
One day though, I saw those waves in a new light. They became a metaphor for life.
Each wave became a symbol for the challenges we face, relentless. They didn’t stop for anyone or anything. If you tried to go against those challenges, you would be knocked out. Sometimes life’s waves are happy and high, other times stormy and strong. But they will pass. We just have to ride out them out as best as we can, knowing that the next wave is going to come. It’s just a matter of time.
Occasionally, I would run to the water’s edge, kneel down and attempt to take hold of it in my bare hands. But it would always spill through like a slippery teenager, rebelling and refusing to live under anyone’s rules.
Smiling, I would tell myself that it was the perfect lesson to learn to accept those things outside of our control. In fact, the harder I tried to catch the water, the more it would desperately try to escape. Instead, I had more luck holding water when I held my hand out and let it gently fill me.
While waiting for the sun to come out, I started to see the repetitive and routine nature of those waves.
In and out.
In and out.
In and out.
To some, it might seem a little boring, even silly to be captivated by it.
But I realised it was something special.
There is magic in the mundane, we just have to choose to see it.
No different to most of our lives, a series of ordinary events. Daily life is filled with work, family and friends. Trying to stay healthy, happy and on top of things is another job on the side. If we’re lucky, we may have some hobbies or interests, momentous celebrations or travel adventures. But very few of us have excitement on a daily basis. Even the entrepreneurs among us that seem to have all the autonomy and freedom in the world, often spend their days on calls, in meetings and in front of a computer.
It’s why it’s so important to find everyday magic.
For me, it’s watching waves and pretty sunrises, for some it might literally involve smelling roses. But whatever it is, these things are essential to our well-being.
Watching the waves has become my daily inspiration – a reminder of flowing with life’s challenges, finding magic in the mundane and learning to not try to control everything.