For a few years now, I've wanted to try stand-up paddle boarding. I mean . . . it looks so fun! Just paddling along, enjoying the lake views. Y'know? Kind of like kayaking. . . But not.
I decided that THIS was the year! (After all, BALANCE is my word for 2017.) Tom got me a paddle board for my birthday.
Let me tell you, folks. Stand-up paddle boarding? Not so easy! (The whole getting on and getting off part, alone, was nearly enough to do me in. . . ) I have very good balance and core strength from years of practicing yoga and Pilates -- but when I stepped on that board?
(Kind of like being in a canoe for the first time. Remember that feeling? Like any movement you make - no matter how slight - is going to upend the whole works? Yeah. That feeling.)
My legs were shaking so badly I thought, surely, I'd fall in and have to swim back to shore . . . defeated. And that's when I started talking to myself. Out loud.
You are strong.
You can do this.
The worst thing that can happen is you end up in the lake.
I was determined. I kept at it. Eventually, I figured things out -- how to turn around, how to control my speed, that I had much better balance when I relaxed. And, before I knew it, I was Doing It! And it was FUN.
In the end, I learned some important lessons about BALANCE from my stand-up paddle board; lessons that can be applied to, well . . . the rest of LIFE:
- Feeling out-of-balance in any new situation is expected, so give yourself some time to adjust to your new reality. Live with it for a bit; it will become more natural.
- Yeah, you'll probably feel a bit awkward and embarrassed to be trying a new thing in front of other people. Oh, well! You'll get through it.
- Tensing up is a natural response when we're trying something new. Try to let go of that tension. If your legs are shaking . . . take a deep breath and relax.
- Remember that it's okay to take things slowly. Be deliberate in your actions. Figure out the basic techniques or elements you need to feel in control of your new situation.
- When your confidence wanes, talk to yourself. Find some mantras that are meaningful to you and repeat them - frequently and out loud.
- Practice! The more you do it, the more natural it feels.
- And - most of all - smile. Because it's fun to try new things. And when we smile, we remind ourselves that life is good and we can Do This Thing.
Before I head home later this afternoon, you know what I'm going to do? Yeah. A bit more work on my balance!