Best 30 Seconds Ever
I led a team-building exercise recently where I instructed everyone to think for a moment about their favorite memories. We took a couple of minutes in silence to catalog a few of the most magical snapshots of our lives, and then I narrowed the search further; “now consider what 30 seconds you’d most like to live again.” A lively discussion followed as everyone shared their favorite 30-second memory.
After 24 years of marriage, four children, countless adventures, challenges and joys, there were several 30-second snapshots that came to my mind, but one seemed to float above the rest.
My brothers and I had the chance, years ago, to travel to Hawaii for a guys-only surf adventure. I’m the oldest of five boys, and it’s an amazing gift to be great friends with all of these…well, men now. Before many of us had families of our own, this long-shot blast to Maui, with our clothes taped around our surfboards as padding during the flight, made an indelible mark in my memory, seeming to somehow weave itself into my DNA. I’ll never forget catching the biggest wave of my life at Honolua Bay on that trip, but it was the small moments, the rambling, spontaneous, gloriously unplanned days we shared as brothers that made the deepest impression.
On one of the last evenings together on the island, we were heading south along a two-lane country road with the ocean on our right, and we spotted a pristine, empty surf break through the thick palms. We jumped out and hit the waves as the sun was getting low in the sky. Sure enough, this spot was perfect; small but glassy peelers crashed one after the other, and there was no wind, and no other people for miles. We shared the waves, swapping boards, goofing around, passing around a straw hat, and laughing at all the inside jokes collected between us throughout the years.
As the sun finally sank below the horizon, we all caught a last wave in and sat on the beach for a moment, catching our breath in the fading light, watching another epic sunset send streaks up across the sky. The temperature between the warm air, the sand, and the water was seamless, undetectable. Our swim trunks weren’t dry yet, but I wasn’t cold at all, even as darkness grew. My brothers and I had nowhere we needed to be, nothing to do, and no reason to rush off. Just resting on the sand, slightly damp, joyfully exhausted, and perfectly content, watching those last colored strands of sunlight fade into the tropical evening…that’s my favorite 30 seconds ever.