Dawn patrol

This week I went surfing at 5 am for the very first time. I got up at 4.30 am and got ready. I got dressed, grabbed the wetsuit, grabbed my bag and waited for the van to pick me up. It was freezing outside but I was so incredibly excited. I always wanted to go to the beach before the sunrise and swim and surf while watching the sun rise. As soon as we arrived at the beach we put our wetsuits on, grabbed our boards and headed to the beach.

I was barefoot and we had to walk a little distance to the beach on concrete and my feet were completely frozen and in pain from walking on the hard and sharp concrete. I finally stepped on sand and immediately ran towards the water. I stayed in the more shallow spot first to just practice a bit before my teacher called me over to try some bigger waves.

After many failed attempts I finally managed to stand up for just a second before I fell but it was still amazing. The sunrise was absolutely beautiful and there were many seals just swimming around us. One of them popped its head up right next to me and looked at me curiously before it dove back down.

It was my first time being at the beach before sunrise and it was a long dream of mine that I was finally able to fulfill.

https://www.liveabout.com/what-is-a-dawn-patrol-3154748

Relax

I am currently starting to get ready for my College applications. It is a lot of stress and, on top of it, loads and loads of homework. I always try to find something that can distract me. I tend to try and get everything done in one sitting but I have to remind myself that my body needs a break sometimes. I have started to go on runs to get my mind free and it works! But often the day has just been too tiring to go on a run on top of that so I go and do something creative such as drawing, editing photos, or playing the guitar!

But I must say there is one thing that nothing else can come close to that makes me happy and relaxes me. And that is just going to the barn and spending time with the horses. It’s not even the riding part, mostly I just sit down in a stall with a horse and just watch them. Two years ago a very close friend of mine graduated. She learned riding at the school and bonded with one horse especially. The horse’s name is Simba. He has such a character and is an incredibly fun horse to ride. When my friend graduated she asked me to take care of him for her, and so I did. I started forcing a bond with him. Now every time I see him I am filled with happiness and joy.

I have always had stronger binds with animals than I had with people. I guess part of it is that animals don’t talk. They just sit there and do their thing. They don’t judge you and they don’t talk about you behind your back. They have their own characters and they do what they want.

Simba has taught me a lot throughout high school and he has helped me to find time to relax and just be. He can be a brat sometimes but he has taught me to never give up even if you have a bad day. Just push through it, and it will eventually get better.

photo by author

In Person, Finally

School is back in session and I couldn’t be more excited.

Online school was an interesting experience, but I would not do it again. It was hard and it did not have the same feeling as in-person learning.

Although it has been two days of in person learning, I have enjoyed it much more than online. I have been able to connect with my friends and teachers, which is much easier to do in person.

Sports are also starting up, which is also another way to connect with new people and make long lasting memories. There are many more opportunities to do outdoor activities, and eventually go into town.

Photo Credit: OVS

Another upside to doing in person school is that I am able to visit home. Since people are coming on campus, we are able to leave on the weekends and during holidays.

Overall, I am glad the Ojai Valley School opened for school.

Determined

Last week was my first trip to the beach since coming out of quarantine. I had been looking forward to it the whole week and then it was finally time to leave. We packed our surfboards and wetsuits and made our way to the beach.

It was a hot day, the sun was shining and the mood was good. We sang songs in the car all the way to the beach and when we arrived we immediately grabbed our stuff and ran down to the beach. Feeling the sand between my feet and the sun on my shoulders felt so good. I hadn’t been to the beach in 6 months and it felt so good to be back. My friend and I looked at each other and just started running towards the water like two little kids. The water was cold but also warm, just perfect. We swam for a few minutes before we decided it was time to get on the surfboards and attempt to surf.

Well, we definitely miscalculated how big some of the waves were and just got slammed to the ocean floor. It was a struggle getting out in the water again as the waves just came crushing in, taking you and your board with them. When we finally made it out we waited for a wave that was small enough for us, as we have never really surfed in our lives. We kept trying and trying and every yet so tiny success was enough to keep us motivated.

We ended up being in the water for 3 hours trying to stand up on our board. At one point we were so exhausted we didn’t even have the strength to push ourselves up anymore. The sun started setting, creating a beautiful bright orange color that reflected from the ocean. It was time to go, and our teachers called us back in to pack our stuff and head back to the van.

I will go back to the beach again tomorrow and I will not give up until I stand on the board surfing down the line, even of it will take me weeks to accomplish it.

Picture credit to author

Runners High

I set a goal to each day to get outside somehow.

Whether it be sitting and looking around at the scenery, taking in a view somewhere, or simply walking around, I need to do something to clear my head.

But nothing gets the blood rushing and clears my mind like running.

There is nothing like hearing the rhythmic pitter patter of your feet hitting the solid ground.

The only problem with running is actually getting out and working up to the rhythmic sounds of your feet.

Now the easy part is once you get into the rhythm and you start to loose track of time and you feel you worries start to slip away.

Once you loose yourself, you drift into what some would call the “runners high”

That high you feel is numbing and freeing, yet it is full of utter exhaustion and the desire to quit, but something motivates you to push through and experience the moment and loose yourself.

Then in the blink of an eye, you’ve reached your destination, or something snaps you back into reality and you are back to focusing on the rhythmic pitter patter of your feet hitting the solid ground.

Art Credit: Salomon.com

OVS as a New Student

Picture Credit: Smapse.com

Being a new student where you do not know anyone is hard, but going to boarding school away from your family is even harder. I have been to my fair share of sleep away camps, but this a whole different feeling.

I have had a weeks worth of food, and so far the food doesn’t disappoint. I think my favorite meal so far was the french toast breakfast with fruit. I have noticed that there is always a carb option.

I have walked up and down the hill so many times because I missed the golf cart to take us to get food. I have done a lot of exercise in my short one week period here at OVS. I have swam in the pool almost everyday, kicked around a soccer ball after dinner, and even try to play basketball on the weekends.

Overall, I am enjoying my time here.

The Boys

There is something beautiful about the congregation of adolescent males. Sure, most of the time something gets broken, the noise level goes through the roof and no one, not even the participants, understand what’s going on. But the camaraderie and jocular affection displayed among teenage boys is an experience worth having.

As I end my time here at OVS, I want to pay tribute to some of The Boys. The next blog posts will each describe one or two individuals who have been important in my time during high school. Some have been great mates in the musical, others on the field, and some by helping me with crosswords. But each lad in one way or another has made the last four years of my life better, so this is my way of saying thank you.

Evening Runs

Sundays are long runs.

I usually end up doing them in the evening much later than I should. I tell myself I’m being strategical and avoiding the heat, but if that was true I would run in the morning (that RARELY happens). In reality, my procrastination and dread for long runs are the reason why my long runs happen in the evening.

Yesterday though, my run was pleasant. I never thought I’d say these words, but it was almost enjoyable.

Around 7:55 I told myself, “Bella, get up, you’re running.” I grabbed my headphones, running watch, a headlamp, and started to run.

It was cool weather.

My music was good.

It was dark to the point where I could see my shoes and three feet ahead of me, but nothing else.

I had no light to see my watch screen, so I just ran. I didn’t constantly check to see my mileage or pace, or how much time I had left: I simply just ran.

And then there were the shadows.

What I’m going to say next will sound like some philosophical bs but while I was running it totally made sense, if you’re a runner, you know that the mind starts to lose sanity after about five miles.

The newly set sun and distant street lights served as an invitation for three shadows to join me. One ran about four feet behind me, one right by my side, and one ran far in front of me.

I stared at the three shadows for a good twenty minuets because, like I said, running is a tedious thing that causes a bit of insanity, and I started to think.

I thought about my progress with running, the struggles I’ve faced with it, where I am, and where I want to be.

The shadow behind me represented where I started: my first time running without someone forcing me to do it, the first time I competed in a race, and all of the first steps I took in my running journey.

The middle shadow right next to me represented where I am now: I am not in as great of shape as I was at my peak, but I’m in better shape that when I started. I am working to improve my skills.

The shadow in front of me represents where I want to be: my goals, the times I want to achieve, races I want to compete in, and mental toughness that I want to acquire with my running.

On my evening long run, in my philosophical state, I stared ahead and placed one foot in front of the other, in a rhythmical pattern, as I chased down my running goals and the shadow that ran ahead of me.

Photo via runningmagazine.ca

Persistence

Persistence is key to being successful. It’s hard to find someone who became successful with the inconsistent mindset. Especially during this period, where people have zero motivation to do something productive. It is crucial to maintain your persistence despite the situation unless on special occasions. 

Frankly, I’ve been not doing a good job of being persistent, but I always try to be more optimistic despite the harsh environment that we are in right now. 

I’ve been trying to set up a daily schedule to be more productive and persistent, once you started to get lazy, it is extremely hard to get back on track.

So I recommend getting out of bed and do anything you can to have the motivation to do other works. Once you get used to that routine, being persistent will be easier. I am also trying to maintain a lifestyle that is not lavish, and I hope this mindset will not change throughout time.

Stay safe and wash your hands.

PC: Steemit.com

Mind Games

Throughout my athletic career, I’ve struggled with comparing myself to others. Not only has it affected my performance in sports, but it has affected many other aspects of my life. From not raising my hand in class to ask for help because I’m scared people will think I’m dumb or make fun of me, to quitting a swim team because I thought my teammates judged me and thought of me differently because I was the slowest on the team. But in reality, there were at least ten other of my classmates who were just as confused as I was, and the good people on that swim team liked me because I tried and was kind, and the people who treated me differently because I was the slowest weren’t worth my time anyway.

But still, my fear of being judged has had me in chains for years and I still fight it every day.

Yes, I have been viewed differently by people when my athletic abilities were less than theirs, but I’ve come to the realization that the true athletes are ones who accept and help others succeed.

Dear anyone who needs to hear it: We all start somewhere. We all have our insecurities. Not everyone has the same strengths as others. Comparing yourself to others will only bring you down. The most important thing is to focus on your journey.

Whether you run a 15 minute mile or a 5 minute mile. Whether you can bench 40 pounds or 400 pounds. Whether you swim a 1:40 for a hundred or a :40 for a hundred. The point is you are trying, and that’s what matters.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a pro athlete and I am not saying I am in any way, but I have recognized one of the main things that holds me back, and I don’t think I am the only one.

Please know that where ever you are in your athletic journey, don’t look at what others have accomplished, look at the improvement you’ve made because that’s what matters.

I don’t care how talented an athlete may be. If they judge or make someone feel bad because of their abilities, all of my previous respect would be gone. Sportsmanship is building one another up, not tearing each other down. A team is a supportive group of people, not enemies. Athletics is a field meant to empower, inspire, and be available to all people, not just the pros.

If you share this same anxiety as I do, please know that it is your journey that matters and the people worthwhile will support you no matter your skill and ability.

“Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter”- Doctor Seuss

Photo via huffpost.com