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Make time for your passions to find balance in life, Huntington Beach writer and surfer says in first book

Make time for your passions to find balance in life, Huntington Beach writer and surfer says in first book
Simon Short, 34, of Huntington Beach self-published his first book, “The Average Surfer’s Guide: To Travel, Waves and Progression,” which shares how he beat depression through surfing and writing. (Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

To Simon Short, life is like a scale — balance is essential.

It’s a perspective he adopted after successfully battling depression through surfing and writing. He channeled his energy into those hobbies, resulting in his first book, the self-published “The Average Surfer’s Guide: To Travel, Waves and Progression.”

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The book, published in 2018, touches on surfing, mental health and the importance of prioritizing one’s passions to find true belonging and identity.

Short, 34, said it’s important for people to balance life’s responsibilities with their hobbies.

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“I have a simple life, good career, but I also surf and travel the world,” said Short, a freelance writer and a campus security consultant for private schools in south Orange County. “I surf every day and it’s the happiest I’ve ever been, but I had to go through awful times to get there.”

Short moved from England to Riverside in his early 20s and worked as a police officer near Palm Springs. He married an American woman and bought a home but didn’t have much time for surfing because of his distance from the ocean.

In Simon Short’s book, he encourages readers to balance life’s responsibilities with their hobbies.
In Simon Short’s book, he encourages readers to balance life’s responsibilities with their hobbies. (Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

At some point, Short said, his life started falling apart.

In 2014, he got divorced and was left with only a few clothes and a surfboard, he said. He lived in a motel in Anaheim for four months until he saved enough money to rent a place in Huntington Beach, where he could surf every day.

“I went to therapy, I took prescribed medication, read every book suggested and everything people said about depression and mental health,” he said. “I came out the other end with a new view of life, and that’s kind of where the book came from.”

He wrote about his experience and got it published on TheInertia.com, an outdoor-culture website. He said his article went viral and was picked up by mental health websites, which encouraged him to keep writing and eventually publish his book.

He hopes the book will help shift people’s perspectives on life.

“As we grow older, we see passions and hobbies as fringe activities,” Short said. “You can’t go surfing every day because you need to go to work and get a house and do everything demanded of you. I just kind of learned to reverse that view a little bit and get equal balance.”

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