As he waited for three months to hear from his doctor about life-altering test results, Hayden Peters went on a trip. He took to the coast, diving into the waters that make him feel most alive and discovered a perspective that’s helped him navigate the uncertainty of his future with more ease. And now, he’s sharing it with all of us.

So, how do you and I find this mysterious perspective? Well, it’s not so hidden as you may think. We don’t need to dredge up our old compasses, pack our bags, and travel to the ends of the Earth to find it. No, instead, the key to finding a bit of ease in life’s unfavorable events is probably already right in front of us; Hayden’s story will just make it visible.

Image: Person kayaking

Hayden Peters
Source: Skip Armstrong // Flickr

“People might think that it’s an unnecessary risk to put myself in these scenarios. I see the magic of life; I see the things that are truly meaningful to me; the experience that makes me a human being, that makes me alive.” —Hayden Peters

While none of us know how long we’ll be here with any certainty, it still comes as quite the shock when you’re told your time here could be cut short. So, when Hayden Peters, an award-winning filmmaker and avid adventurer, received word from his doctor that he may have a genetic disease that could lead to a shorter life, the news shifted something inside of him.

He was led to the Pacific Northwest coastline, where the crashing waves around him make his problems seem minuscule and he felt truly alive. His story, told briefly in this beautiful film directed by his friend Skip Armstrong and presented by NRS Films, is one that can help each of us find a way to live—truly, live—with whatever we’re facing.

See how your perspective on your own problems can shift as well as we go along the coast with Hayden to hear how his own journey there had an impact on his life forever, however long that may end up being.

Find more fantastic work from Skip Armstrong over on his website or by following him over on Instagram!

Did you notice there was a quick cameo of someone we’ve featured before on the beach? Check out the following article, featuring one of my all-time favorite videos, to see who he is! (Skip was also involved in the beautiful video featured as the director of photography!)

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Going With the Ebb and Flow

As we each discover and focus on the activities or places that make us feel alive, we aren’t just building more support for when we confront new obstacles. We’re also bringing more fullness to all those moments in between.

Our lives are forever changing, and the confusion that comes with navigating each new adventure can often leave us feeling like we’re spiraling out of control.  Almost like we’re spinning our tires in mud, we can work in one way until it seems like that’s the final reality we’re facing. But finding these places and activities that remind us who we are, what we love, and make us feel what it is to be here and human can be our lead rope to seeing our reality in a way we can accept, or at least feel more at ease with.

The big problems we’re facing can shrink when we change our perspective.

They may not ever be small, but they can definitely take up less time in the time you have left.

If you’d like to see how others have approached their circumstances from a new perspective and brought possibility through their challenge, check out these next few articles from our library!

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When Everything Seems Dark, Here’s How to Find Some Light

The next time you or someone you love faces a heartbreaking turn of events, there is a recipe for the resilience it takes to come out the other side of a loss with a remarkable sense of progress. Here's a story that gives us all the keys to unimagined possibilities!

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Pa Arding: Turning Accidents into Opportunity

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Socialite to Social Do-Gooder: charity: water Brings Clean Water to the World

A former nightclub promoter is now saving millions of lives by bringing them clean water. He used the skills he honed to develop one of the most successful non-profits we've ever seen—and you can have a part in it too. Here's the story. 

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“It’s not what you look at that matters; it’s what you see.” —Henry David Thoreau

If the one thing we get to choose in life is our perspective, why not find the one that brings you the most joy?

It sounds easy when phrased like that, doesn’t it? But like anything, shifting our perspective won’t be simple at first. It takes practice. As a first step, I suggest paying attention to those places that give you a feeling of peace. Where are they? What are you doing?

Whenever life is a bit too overwhelming for me, I often find myself at the water’s edge, as well. (I don’t live near a coastline like Hayden, but Lake Champlain is down the street from me and does a lovely job.) As soon as I see the ripples flowing over the rocks, swirling into each other from one edge of the lake to the far side, the fog in my mind begins to clear. With each ebb and flow of the water comes clarity. For you, it could be somewhere entirely different: the forest, the basketball court, the studio, the racetrack, on stage, where you volunteer, or even outer space.

So, the next time life throws you a curveball, remember these places. See what happens to your perspective once you’ve spent a little time in them. While it probably won’t solve all of your problems, it can surely give you the space to realize what matters the most in living a life that you love.

Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” —Albert Einstein

Looking for more new perspectives?

We’ve curated some of our favorite life hacks that have helped us think about the way we walk through the world in different ways. Just click the button below to explore!

Life hacks on EWC


  1. NRS Films. “The Coast.” Vimeo, 3 Mar. 2020, Accessed 3 Mar. 2020.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.