Have you surprised yourself recently by trying something new? I have — and I’m really proud of myself. My adventure – going kayaking for the first time – goes against the cultural stereotypes that suggest that people my age are happiest when interacting with their grandchildren and pursuing sedentary hobbies.
My adventure happened during my recent trip to Montana. My friend, Kaye, created our week-long itinerary based on her own exploration of her new home state (more on our adventures in future posts). Kaye loves being outdoors and is finding all sorts of new ways to enjoy nature. She wanted to share her passion for her adopted state with me during my visit – and that included kayaking.
Overcoming Initial Reluctance
It’s not the first time that someone has tried to get me to go kayaking. I have several friends who have invited me to try this activity over the past few years. I always declined, citing several reasons. The primary reason is that I’m not too fond of water. I had a bad experience as a young child when my mother had to fish me out of the deep end of a pool. While I can now swim, a few unsettling times dealing with ocean currents reinforced my distrust of large bodies of water. I have come to embrace being a land-lubber.
So what made this time different? I believe several things helped me work up the gumption. First of all, Lake Como was really low during my visit so you could actually see the bottom of the lake as you got the closer to shore. I was wearing a life vest, which (obviously) helped. And Kaye was a relative newcomer to the activity so she understood how to coach me through the process.
We stayed out on the lake for about an hour. It was glorious looking at the scenery’s reflection off the water and to enjoy the fresh, crisp air. Kayaking also proved to be challenging (in a good way). I had to get used to paddling and dealing with currents and wind. It took a while to figure out how to steer and paddle effectively. I thought my arms and shoulders would be very sore after kayaking, but that didn’t prove to be the case.
Kayaking made me feel like a novice, but I also really appreciated that this experience allowed me to regain the sense of wonder that I had as a child when undertaking a new adventure. Will I go kayaking again? Maybe. I didn’t absolutely love it, but I now see its appeal as a way to spend time with friends while being active.
However, what I also learned that day was that I need to say “yes” more often to new adventures and find ways to seek them out regularly. I also need to ignore the cultural cues that suggest that new active experiences are only for the younger generation. Here’s to new adventures!
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