Lessons from a kid

A spring morning on Waikiki Beach goes from photographing surfers to a lesson from a kid about waiting on the sidelines

Waikiki Morning

So this kid.

I watched him watching the surfers of Waikiki for maybe half an hour. There were a dozen or so, just out of frame. It was early morning, when the locals rule the waves until the tourists show up.

Waikiki Surfers

I was there to photograph them, because who doesn’t love watching surfers?

But the kid. He wasn’t moving. He didn’t get in the water, despite being dressed for it. He just stood there. Watching them. There he was, pale and pudgy. There they were, tanned and toned. He stood meekly on the seawall. They were masters of the waves. This kid was mesmerized.

Surfers at Waikiki Beach

He seemed to be less watching them than studying them. Those surfers were his heroes. I had the distinct impression he wanted to be them. Was it simple longing that will go unfulfilled? Or was he forming a plan? A strategy? Will he transform from standing on the sidelines… into being his own hero?

I’ll never know.

What I do know is that this kid is on to something. Specifically, this something: that studying people who already have the life you want is a smart shortcut to getting it for yourself. Why reinvent the wheel? Obviously the life that you, me, all of us want is possible — there are people already living it as proof. So find them, study them, and go get it already.

Hello Also Goodbye

Words & images © 2017 Kristian Gallagher