As I enter my 4th decade, I find it harder and harder to spend time with my dearest friends. All our kids are involved in 2+ activities and being active parents we’re also overextended between work, parenting duties, volunteering and our own extra curricular activities. Who KNEW how easy college made it to associate with great friends – you just woke up and were surrounded by roommates and options. Now I work faster and more efficiently to gain 20 free minutes for facebook and emailing.
But last summer 3 of us made a plan to vacation together this summer. And here we are…August, 2011, in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina with our kids.
What to do besides eat, beach, pool, eat, beach, pool, eat, beach, pool. I don’t know about you, but seeing the local landscape beyond my rental home is like a treasure trove. Running along new streets, having to pay better attention to details to get back home (or getting lost doing so) invigorates me for weeks. Smelling sweet ocean air mixed with trees, sighting new pinnacles on the horizon, feeling the glassy surface of warm, calm water, and tasting the salt of the Atlantic all delight my senses and I develop a permanent grin.
Paddle boarding. None of us had ever done it. We were nervous but excited, hopeful we’d “get it”. What made us hesitant I wondered…and after a little prodding, it turned out to be “fear” (which pretty much seems to be the standard reason for not jumping into something unknown.) Aside from the possibility of feeling foolish due to inexperienced form, or embarrassed from slipping off the dock as we launched our boards, or annoyed by falling off the boards into the …what….the warm water???…what was the big deal!
So we made a reservation and the kids stayed with the men. Upon arrival to the dock we were fitted for paddle length and taught the basics.
Yep, we did all of the above that I’d feared and more. But after I slipped, fell off, knocked my ribs falling, used horrible form, lost my hat and had to swim away from my board fearing oyster shells would soon slice up my legs or even worse – sharks, I realized everyone else was in the same boat! And THEN did the fun begin! After our intro course, and lightheartedly surviving all our worst paddle boarding fears, we tried stuff I’d never even thought of! We jumped up and landed on it, we jumped around 180 degrees, then jumped around 360 degrees on the board numerous times (and crashed landed most of them). We attempted balancing Yoga moves like Tree Pose & Downward Dog with a leg lifted. We walked as far froward and backwards on the board as we could and adjusted our balance as if it were a full time job. No thoughts of negotiating my kids requests like “Mom, can I have another Klondike Bar” entered my mind. Only after I let go of what anyone thought of me, did I truly enjoy the ride.
We all get hardened to the lifestyle we engage in, to the habits we feel comfortable with, to the opinions of people similar to ourselves so we can fit into a social group. It’s human nature. If you’re like me, and occasionally want to break out of your ordinary day, then you gotta try something new! I’m writing this to remind myself to keep climbing out on those limbs because that’s where the fruit is (in experiences!) It could be as simple as mixing 2 different cereals for breakfast or driving a different route to work.
So go on and crack your shell, feel nervous, uneasy, okay-ness, pleasantly surprised, elated and definitely entertained. See, hear and smell the differences while you dabble with jumping into something new.