Episode 012: ☵ (Water) Patrick Millin - Mountains of the Mind

Looking out the living room window of my apartment in Encinitas, CA, I absorb the sounds from an orchestra of palm trees, shaking and dancing before me in the fading light of this spring afternoon. Among the meandering breeze and rustling leaves, I recognize a sound pattern I’ve been anticipating – footsteps beginning to climb my old wooden stairs. Listening more closely, the steps have a  quality of careful deliberation as they ascend the short flight. Crusted with the salty air of coastal living, I open the door, which offers up a subtle squeal of protest from the swollen wood frame. Before me stands Patrick Millin, an old friend and someone I’ve wanted to catch up with for quite some time.

Describing our efforts to make this conversation happen in person as ‘herding cats’ would be putting it mildly; we both tend to be reluctant to commit to hard and fast plans, enjoying the pleasure of roaming freely and likely lacking the enzyme that breaks down the persistent bacteria of procrastination. Pat appears stoked as well, despite a lingering sense of what I assume to be a little bit of anxious anticipation. Whether it is organic chemistry, a few libations, too many hours in a two-man lifeguard tower, or all of the above, Pat and I have always had the aptitude to go further in our dialogs, at times ending up in some rather dark and tumultuous spaces or experiences. Nevertheless, this is a quality I value and am grateful to have access to in a friend like him.  

We take a seat on the small living room sofa, falling into position with quasi-sophisticated, ape-like ease, and begin to shoot the shit. Not far into the verbal foreplay, he picks my notes up off the coffee table to have a gander. Despite having had prior discussions about what the topics of conversation would center around, I get the impression that this decision to more meticulously inspect the plan is born from somewhere in the narrow valley that separates nervous impulse and careful consideration. Perhaps he’s worried that some of my final format questions might be pushing the boundaries a bit too far of what he’s willing to explore in this particular situation, on record, for the ears of strangers. I have a deep respect for this feeling and can wholly empathize, which I reflect on at this moment as his eyes dart about on the paper he holds. However, I know that the questions I have prepared have been crafted with the best intentions and for the collective good of everyone, with him receiving top priority.

Frankly, while it admittedly requires great strength and humility to be brutally vulnerable and honest, I feel like these topics need to be discussed and shared more often. After all, we’re just like anyone else – we have fears, hopes, and dreams, we love to sing, we love to dance, we are human –sometimes very human. If anything, I consider it to be an act of bravery for any person to be deeply – or even moderately – self-aware, and willing to share that vulnerability openly with the world. It’s all about balance, though, which is why Pat and I are sitting on this sofa, exchanging cliche surf rap and blowing hot air about what we don’t know, don’t necessarily understand, but may have experienced and maybe know a thing or two about. But the jury is still out on that.

In this episode, I get to share this discussion with my longtime friend, pro surfer, Hollywood actor, stuntman, and ‘rad dad, Patrick Millin. Pat and I take a trip down memory lane, detailing the ebbs and flows and peaks and valleys of his life story. We get into the thick of things and have an in-depth conversation about things that are rarely discussed and, sadly, still considered taboo to talk about publicly. Along the way, we delve into themes such as addiction, emotional disorders, cultural and familial influence, self-awareness, commitment to one’s dreams, perseverance, and resilience.

The conversation was eye-opening, enlightening, and a great deal of fun,  and his story is one I feel many people, if not all of us, can relate to on some level.

Drop in, tune up and enjoy the ride!