I'm sure you've heard the expression "do one thing every day that scares you." The quotation is often misattributed to Eleanor Roosevelt who said, "you gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face." Although her quote is lengthy, it doesn't sound as flippant as running around doing scary shit every day just because.
A few weeks ago, my adventure on Shuswap Lake became my scary event that will last for months.
The first night out, I relax and float around. I’m a huge fan of bathtub warm water and lake is ideal. My life jacket is snug. The lake is calm. And I’m with friends who abide by my ‘no splashing’ rule. Life is perfect as the sun sets on Copper Island.
The next day a new water toy to pull behind the boat comes out. The guys watch a few YouTube videos of a teenager doing handstands and spins on the water disc. They grin and say he makes it look easy.
Fastening my life jacket up tighter than usual, I lower myself onto the disc, get on my stomach and grab the two handles in the middle. I rock side to side. Feels stable. I stick an arm straight down into the water to see when it gets cold. It's warm right up to my elbow. Works for me. I’ll just stay on top.
With my thumbs up gesture, the boat moves forward, and the rope tightens. The guys say the boat shouldn’t go faster than 15 km/hour. Heck, I go faster than that when I’m biking downhill.
Once I’m skipping across the wake, I loosen my grip on the handles. The tension is less than water skiing. Nice. I scootch my legs up and wiggle around until I’m sitting. When I let go of both handles, I still stay on the disc. Easy-peasy. Feeling like a rock star I wave at my friends on the boat.
Now I just have to stand up.
I get into a crouching position. Almost there. I lift one leg up and move it forward. My foot steps over the centre line and the front of the disc tips down. Darn it. I know what’s coming but I try to shift my weight back in hopes I can compensate and counterbalance. Not a chance. My rock star status (with me right behind) fly over the front of the disc and I torpedo headfirst through the warm water into the cold.
With lips shut tight (to keep the minnows out) I thrash my arms above my head to find the surface. When I pop out, water gushes out my nostrils. Hair clings to my face. Holding my chin up, I gasp a few good breaths and pat my life jacket. It performed well.
The expressions of the people at the back of the boat indicate I performed an awesome wipeout. If getting up and standing on the disc had to be unsuccessful, it’s good to know I can amuse people.
I wait for the boat to circle around and pick me up. After drying off, I assume a more relaxing position on the deck and watch the scenery pass by. So much for doing scary shit just because.
With only a few weeks of summer left, have a few adventures everyone. If you try something scary, stay safe, and don’t be afraid to look fear in the face - even if you end up getting wet.
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