My family never really had much experience with water or water sports. We enjoyed an occasional summer outing several hours away on my uncle’s boat. Several of my siblings learned to water ski, but I never did. The line to ride the boat and ski was so long I decided to do other things. I don’t ever remember my parents water skiing either.
My husband and I bought a boat and jet skis and enjoyed a semi-nearby lake in the summers. Even with opportunity, I decided to stay in the boat and let everyone else enjoy the thrill of the water. I didn’t feel driven to learn because I suffer from seasickness and recovering after being bounced around usually wasn’t worth the bouncing around.
Despite persistent nausea, I decided to try new water adventures over the past few years. I learned to snorkel. After several attempts, I snorkeled for half an hour without vomiting when I decided to not eat food for 12 hours before the snorkeling trip. That was a huge accomplishment! So I started applying the fasting before water activities with more comfortable results. I learned to paddle board. Nausea still accompanied every stroke until I decided to wear my glasses one day. I paddled up and down the river without any major issues!
Even fasting hasn’t prevented all projectile heaving. My three shark diving experiences all included trying to find an isolated spot to chum the water. And I can only attempt to catch two waves on a surfboard before I’m green and head for shore.
Still, accepting my limitation for what it is but deciding I want an end result more than I want to avoid the limitation has brought satisfaction and delight.
One of those moments happened yesterday. My young-at-heart adventurous mother and I went stand up paddleboarding.
Mom Goes Paddleboarding
The most I’ve ever seen my mom in the water has been a little snorkeling and a short surf lesson while visiting us over the years. But I’d talked up the experience of paddling Haleiwa River and mom wanted to try it.
She had the usual concerns and fears. I described my first violently wobbly experience. But despite the really comical display of non-balance, I only came off the board when trying to see how far I could go upstream in low water conditions. I hit a rock and capsized. Also comical. I figured mom would have more common sense than that so she shouldn’t worry about forcibly disembarking.
She still had other concerns but determined to forge ahead. We drove to Haleiwa, rented the boards, and waited for the board guy. He gave mom a little lesson, to which she gave full attention, and sent us on our way.
We got to the middle of the river and I asked if she was ready. After a few moments, she stood up!
I have to interject that she had none of the near-death wobbling I had. She stood totally poised and balanced! She said she felt a little unstable, so we adjusted her stance just a little, but seriously, she was a natural.
We headed up river enjoying the intermittent wind and clouds. We were all alone on the river! I’d never paddled so long without running into anyone.
Mom’s last concern was turning around to head back down river. She easily defeated that hurdle and manipulated the board without difficulty. On the way back, mom spotted a large turtle that swam near the surface and then dove as we paddled by. We both love turtles.
She succeeded so easily at something that had worried her on several levels. She wanted to have the experience with me, but almost let her “No, wait, I’ll keep you from dying” brain talk her out of trying it. We both have very vigilant “No, wait, I’ll keep you from dying” brains. I’m grateful for a survival instinct, but realize that most of the fear the “No, wait, I’ll keep you from dying” brain anticipates is unfounded and silly.
Parable of the Talents
I thought about this experience while reading Matthew 25 today. Three servants were given talents. One received five talents. One received two talents. One received one talent. The guys who got five and two talents doubled their talents.
Upon the lord’s return, the man who received one talent told his master “I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth.” The master chided the man’s fear and inaction calling him wicked and slothful.
How does this relate to stand up paddleboarding? It doesn’t. But it does relate to choosing action over fear and stretching talents and abilities versus staying stuck in a comfort zone.
I haven’t seen any other 70-somethings paddling that river. Mom sought an experience and acted on it despite her fears. Her fears became irrelevant as she realized she was fitted for the challenge more than she thought she was. Finally, the thrill of the experience eclipsed all hesitation creating a beautiful memorable moment.
Casting aside fear and self-doubt enables us to uncover hidden talents, learn new skills, and pop up on the board even when we expect to stay seated the whole ride.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.