Windsurfing, surfing, Maui, The Gorge, and random rants.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Your Greatest Asset

Your house?  Your yard, your lawn?  Your car(s).  Your job, your career?  Your toys, your bikes, golf, ski, or windsurfing gear? Your finances, your portfolio, your 401K? Your family, your friends, your kids, your spouse?  What is it?

Not the same day but close enough.
Last week we were windsurfing on another beautiful Maui day with the trade winds blowing and double head high surf breaking on the lower reefs of Kanaha beach park.  I was heading out, fully powered with good speed toward an incoming wave. The wave was starting to peal to my right, throwing a cascade of water onto the reef.  I turned a bit downwind, looking for the perfect sized ramp on the shoulder ...

Later that day we stopped by the local big box mart on the way home. Many of our fellow shoppers had their baskets piled high with cases of sodas, potato chips, snacks, and so on. A few were riding carts, not able to walk despite looking barely middle aged and with no obvious disabilities. I see more of these carts every time I shop. Just one of those large sodas contains 240 calories and 65 grams of sugar which mostly comes from high fructose corn syrup - the main ingredient besides water. Drinking one such soda a day over a lifetime is all it takes to push many people into adult diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and/or obesity.  All of these are serious diseases which you definitely don't want - ever.  Yet this country has a major epidemic of all that going on right now. Which is a huge reason health costs are so high.  Each and every one of us pays for this problem one way or another.  And the worse thing is this crises is almost entirely self induced and completely avoidable.

Three weeks after OHS.   Just happy to still be here!
It's been just over five months since I had very serious open heart surgery. A month after the operation I had no idea if I would ever fully recover.  At that time I could barely walk a couple of miles before exhaustion set in.  No running, no biking, no windsurfing, no swimming. no paddling, no lifting weights.  It was difficult to imagine living this way permanently and it was my "impossible dream" to return to the same activities I had been lucky to enjoy before surgery.  I will never ever take being alive and healthy for granted again.

... I spotted the ramp and headed towards it, pumping my sail to gain speed. In a few seconds I hit the face and launched from the top of the wave, soaring over the clear blue water of the reef below me.  As I approached the apex of the jump, I reached further back on the boom, tucked in my back foot, and sheeted in the sail.  The West Maui mountains began to turn upside down...

Not the same loop or location or year but close enough.
What I don't understand is why so many people treat their own bodies so poorly. Smoking, drinking sodas,  eating junk food, sitting on the couch all day. It all adds up.  Like a frog in a slowly heating pot of water, too many are either not aware of the eventual consequences, or just don't care. Or maybe a little bit of both.  If only they knew what they were missing.  Maybe that's the problem here.  Maybe if more people were exposed to fun activities as kids, if they could surf or ski or windsurf or bike, maybe more would be healthy happy adults.  Much of our health costs are spent trying to fix the damage caused by diseases that could so easier be avoided.  Should activities like windsurfing and yoga be considered "medicine" and somehow encouraged by policy or tax cuts (free bikes for everyone!)?  If we can figure out a way to do that I bet we'd have a much healthier society..

If you're in shape you can ski powder all day long on Mt Bailey.
We did that and it's awesome!
... The world finished rotating and the Maui mountains were back on top.  I landed on the water with a splash, my momentum momentarily stopped but still upright.  A couple quick pumps of the sail got me over the next wave just before it pitched.  On the outside I turned onto an incoming swell, anticipating the wave that would be forming which I would soon be riding.  It's such an awesome feeling to be back on the water strong enough to do all this again.  I wish everyone could have this feeling, this adrenaline, this rush that can come from surfing a wave, landing a forward, skiing powder up to your nose, clearing a difficult section on your bike, learning a new trick.

Your most important asset?  Your health and life, obviously.  Nothing else matters if you don't have that.  Don't throw it away.  Don't take it for granted.  Enjoy your limited time on this planet as much as possible. Get outside. Have fun! Your health is an investment that will return far greater dividends than any other investment you can possibly make.  Trust me.  Aloha!

Cosmic parting shot.  Cue the organ music...

Copyright © 2011 Jamin Jones, All rights reserved.