Take Time to Appreciate What You Got

This post is off-topic, but I can’t not say it:

It’s inevitable in life that something forces us to pause and take full stock of our blessings.

In my case, it’s my beautiful wife, our four incredible children and our home in Hawaii. I’ve got just about everything I could ever want and need!

The reason I bring this up is because one of Hawaii’s greatest surfers, Andy Irons, passed away suddenly today. He was 32 and on his way back home to the island of Kauai to be with his family and his wife Lyndie. They were expecting their first child next month.

My son and I are surfers and the news is absolutely crushing. Andy was a surfing hero in Hawaii and around the world. He was a fierce competitor and, let’s face it—a damn good surfer.

I can’t tell you how many times back in my younger days I wished I could’ve had the seemingly perfect life of Andy Irons: getting paid to surf perfect, uncrowded waves around the world. And to be one of the very best in the history of the sport!

But now—things being the way they are—my gratitude for life and the people around me is paramount. I get to cradle my 2 year-old daughter to sleep at night and take my sons surfing and listen to my eldest daughter sing and have daily conversation with my wife.

Andy Irons leaves behind a massive legacy, but sadly he will never know the bliss or struggles of fatherhood.

His death reminds me to truly appreciate what I got. And I got a lot.

How about you?

Photo taken by me at the December 2005 Pipeline Masters. Andy won that year.

4 Replies

  1. Mike Fook Reply

    While I respect his surfing, that’s all I know of the guy. To hear people fawning over him as a childhood hero – it’s a bit creepy. Having a master’s in psychology and treating people with all sorts of crazy brain-chemical imbalances causes me to be a bit cautious about who I attribute “hero” status.

    There was a guy in a group home I worked with. His name was Troy. Troy was an artist. An amazing, gifted artist. When I looked at what he drew in his tiny 7×8 room with no other inspiration than what was in his head – I was blown completely away.

    Troy didn’t have the money for rent one month and knocked on his landlord’s door. When the older woman opened the door he attacked her neck and head with a small hatchet. When he had killed her he next killed her husband in the same manner. Then he set their home on fire.

    Troy was a great effing artist. What we didn’t know before that moment was that Troy had a lot of stuff going on in the background that the world was unaware of.

    When I see others deify someone – I have to wonder – what was the bad side? Did he beat his wife? Cheat on her? Was he a facebook stalker? Who knows, you know?

    Just saying – we see 5% of what a person truly “is” in public. There is 95% we don’t see. I don’t look up to anyone as a person until I know them 100%. I don’t think I know anyone 100%.

    Am I making any sense, or just caught up in my psych-babble?

  2. Charles Reply

    Thanks Mike for spending some quality time here in the comments. I truly appreciate it.

    Interesting point you bring up. Sure, Andy could have been a monster away from the public eye, but I doubt it. He wouldn’t have lasted as long as he did if he were.

    And the reality is — he was a surfing hero as far as surfing goes. Not too many people from Hawaii make it as big as he did and he ended up inspiring a lot of people here with his talent and cunning.

    Was he terrible behind closed doors? Perhaps. But we weren’t meant to know that. We were supposed to know him for his surfing, which was absolutely phenomenal.

    Everyone is much better off celebrating Andy Irons than hating him. This is the way it has ended. There’s no more time or space for speculation now that he’s dead and gone.