Happiness Lessons I’ve Learned So Far & The Surfer Stoke Project’s One-Year Anniversary


When you come to this earth, you hope life will run like a Swiss watch.  But life isn’t a Swiss watch.  Life is an elevator from the 70’s with an expired permit.  And I, like that elevator, will never be perfect and predictable.  The beauty on my face will fade, and in the years to come, tears will flow down my face for reasons that are impossible to anticipate.  There will be fresh heartaches ripping new wounds in my heart, and novel joys and adventures that will send me soaring above the clouds.  But through all that, I hold something close to my heart now, something that I didn’t have before I started The Surfer Stoke Project.  This something is not something you can weigh, see or measure, but it’s my most treasured possession.  It’s my Midas touch.  It turns everything in my life into gold.


Before I started this project, I took dread with my coffee, and believed hating your job was as much a reality as gravity.  But my and your dreams are real.  Please know that.


I used to assume we lost our good stuff as we got older.  And it’s true that we don’t heal all the way from the betrayals and baggage that cut into us.  But now I know we can reach into hopes and dreams and be better.  When shooting stars soar overhead, we are meant to close our eyes with wishes swirling between our ears.  Whether it’s pounding piano keys or starting a non-profit, whatever your dream is, do it and it’s like you’re scooping out your sugar and drizzling it over the world.


Like a therapist, this blog showcased my failings and urged me to take a different path.  It taught me that the artichoke hearts of life, the whipped cream and cherries, the wish bones, are found by believing in yourself and heeding your intuitions.  By donning a turkey costume on Thanksgiving and asking strangers for their portraits, this former-eunuch grew some much-desired balls.  It gave me the courage to hold onto what makes me happiest forever, and I intend to.


A famous author once said that writing taught her everything she needed to know about life.  So far, writing has taught me that discipline is important, and vulnerability can be a great thing.  It’s taught me work is always hard, but there’s a choicer hard.   Something you believe in and are passionate about, something that makes the world outside your window a better place, takes the blue ribbon.  And if you gather together the courage to regurgitate your dream and swallow your fear, you’ll grow in ways you could never have imagined possible.


The Surfer Stoke Project has given me something to live for.  And thinking about what’s happened in the past year sends not just a few tears rolling down my cheeks.  Friendships went for slaughter and I am not a paralegal anymore.  I fell in love and was heartbroken.  Ocean breezes hit me in the face hundreds of times, and I showed up to write even though half the time, I had nothing to say.  130 posts were published, and the site was viewed 20,738 times.  The Surfer Stoke Project was featured in LOCALE Magazine’s Indian Summer issue, and will be reprinted for the Orange County Holiday issue to hit stands soon.


I’d like to thank all the people who sent me messages and/or supported me during this time.  Friends whose zip codes land them in places like Israel and Houston, Texas, Boulder and right here in this apartment.  Thank you to my family for being patient and talking me down from the ledge when I wanted to give up.

I assumed one year was enough time to find the answers to all my questions.  And it’s true that this happiness project has been a success because I have found happiness.  Finding writing and leaving a career path that wasn’t right for me has made me happy in the truest way I’ve ever known.  But a purposeful life motivated by meaningful work is the second most important factor in living a happy life.  The most important factor is your social relationships.  Your connections to other people.


I still believe I can make San Diego a more connected place, and I still want to try.  So I’m not ending the project after one year.   But I need your help.  If you would roll up your sleeves, spread the message and buy the coffee for the person behind you tomorrow (and let me know), I’d be much obliged.  Happy one year anniversary to The Surfer Stoke Project.  Thanks for reading and for your support so far.

8 thoughts on “Happiness Lessons I’ve Learned So Far & The Surfer Stoke Project’s One-Year Anniversary

  1. Absolutely beautiful analogies and heartfelt emotion poured out of this prose. Thank you for sharing, it brought a smile to my face. It tickled my inner self in ways that inspire me to reach for something greater, inside.

    Happy anniversary, and I hope to be wishing you many, many more because your writing is special. It is moving and inspirational for at least one other human being. And I presume, many, many more 😉

    Best wishes for continued inspiration, happiness, and courage to live life fully!

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