After all these years I refuse to believe that happiness has a cost, or that we have to wait for it to happen. That it will only come along when we are on vacation, or that our dreams can’t come true on a Monday morning. I know who I want to be. But it doesn’t involve big pay checks and nine to five office days.

I know what I give thanks for. I love spicy food and meeting strangers. I give thanks to good writers, to living cheaply and for evolving as a person.

This one is for getting smashed by monsoon rains, for smoothies and Saturday treats as a kid. It is for all the animals roaming freely, walking on dry reefs, finding wild berries to eat, and watching the sunrise change the colour of the ocean while waiting for a wave to paddle into.

When I reach my final minute on my final day. I won’t think about all the electronics that I couldn’t afford to buy, or what happened on Facebook. I’ll remember bus rides I had in Nepal, white beaches from the Mentawai islands and all the highs and lows of family. I’ll remember going fly fishing with my brother and making pretty girls laugh and friends; of course I will remember my friends. I constantly try to collect moments. I step back and watch the movie that is my life for just a second. Because it is easy to miss the good stuff. Those magical moments that happen in a second. I try really hard to realize when it is good and even when it is not.

I know how it feels when you finally see a place you have seen in a postcard or a calendar. I know that sometimes people who have been mean to you are actually good people. The best way to feel the ocean is to dive into the waves. The same way you do with the ocean of people in hectic Indonesian traffic. This one is for the idea that money spent living avidly is better than any piece of gear you can buy. This one is for breaking barriers, for miracles, for people who sing out loud in subways even if others look at them weirdly. And coffee, thank you Ethiopia for discovering coffee.

We think our heroes have to be highly successful people or world class athletes. People who we watch on television succeeding at following their dreams. My heroes are my fellow surfers, people who go out of their way to help others, and those who discover that inside we are all capable of surprising ourselves.

We all have dreams, but they don’t mean much if we don’t act on them. If we keep postponing them with a label that says “someday”. For when we think we are ready and have the time. I try to get out there. To travel to amazing places. To fail hundreds of times, just to succeed once. To meet and talk with astonishing people. I think it all adds up, and when it does… you are not just doing something. You are being something. What I want to be is happy, excited and inspired. To inspire others to follow their dreams.

Today I turned 35, the waves I caught this morning are for me, for the next 35 years. As I blow out my candle I don’t want to say I wish… I want to say damn that was awesome.