While flipping the channels passively to wind down from the day, the movie Everest kept trekking into view. I obliged and watched- all the while questioning the motive for such a dangerous sport, hobby, or whatever it is. Questions like- why would anyone put themselves in such danger? Why would anyone purposely be so uncomfortable? Once it was over I put the movie out of my mind, or at least I thought I had.
Strangely enough, the images and ideas of courage and bravery endlessly paraded through my mind.
It just so happens that every year, on the 4th of July, brave souls cross the Peace River, as a tradition and celebration of sorts. I always viewed this as silly and dangerous and definitely not for me. But this year, I felt a little different. Deep down I needed to cross this river. I needed to take myself out of my comfort zone. Some people swim, some float,- anything goes. I decided a kayak would be my means of crossing the harbor and this year, I was going to do it.
My daughter Sarah agreed to go with me and ride tandem (thank God!) Husband pushed us off from shore and that was it- only us and the wide open water (known for housing sharks, alligators, sea turtles, manatees, fish of all sorts- algae….who knows what else.) A carousel of thoughts surrounded us- “Can we do it? We can do it. Can we do it? We can do it….” About one-third of the way across ,lightening shot from the sky from several angles. In Florida, storms literally come out of nowhere. Dark clouds began to form, lightning bolts and cracks of thunder were volleying across the sky! We had no choice but to continue straight away. Paddles up, down, splashing the water- resting, starting again.
Now it is true that there were boats and swimmers and police in the vicinity. Odd, that no one else was truly taking the weather seriously. Onward we paddled….
Forty-five minutes later, we were docking and had done it! We had conquered our fear and had crossed the river!
Why would anyone put themselves in danger? Why would anyone purposely be so uncomfortable? I now know the answer. Doing something outside of my comfort zone taught me to handle things within my comfort zone better! Putting myself in a fun, but stressful situation, helped me realize that regular, everyday annoyances are just that- annoyances. New experiences provide a sense of personal accomplishment and confidence that is so uplifting, it can carry you through the bumps and hurdles of the day. Is there anything you haven’t done yet and may be a little scared to try?
Take your victories, whatever they may be. Cherish them and let them propel you forward. You might surprise yourself!