Michael and I have kayaks that we use almost monthly. We load up the boats on the top of our car, pack a cooler, get Finley’s life jacket and head out to the water. It is a favorite pasttime of ours.
Without fail, I always look to book a kayaking excursion when we travel. We’ve paddled cold dark waters in New Zealand and warm, crystal clear water in the Bahamas. We kayaked with a group, with a guide and by ourselves. We love to be out on the water. We do not have to have an agenda, just sunshine and a paddle. But, no matter the conditions, Mike and I have one rule – just keep paddling. I always smile when I think about Mike encouraging me from behind. “Don’t stop Diane!” “Just keep paddling Diane?” Water currents, waves and the wind all force you in their directions. Paddling your kayak keeps you on course for your destination. Sometimes these forces work in your favor, but other times they don’t. Just keep paddling!
I thought our kayak in Exuma would be easy, but as lucky would have it, it wasn’t’! We had to cross a busy channel. Of course, Mother Nature was against us and we fought an outgoing tide, wake from passing boats and a decent head wind. Mike handled it well. I, on the other hand, struggled to keep up. Half way through the channel I felt a pop in my rib cage and knew something was wrong. After a few not-so-lady-like words, I started to feel my muscles cramp. The, my hands lost grip. I wanted to stop and catch my breath so badly, but, I couldn’t. If I stopped paddling, even for a few seconds, I’d loose “ground” and just have to work that much harder and longer. I just had to keep paddling.
I ended up with a strained intercostal muscle from that experience. Breathing hurt. Laying down hurt. Laughing hurt. It was not a fun recovery, nor a short one. But, I can say with certainty, it was one of the most exciting paddles we have ever done.
Travel Lesson: When kayaking or canoeing, just keep paddling.
Life Lesson: Do not give up; life is about the ups and downs.
Doesn’t life seem like this every once in while? You take 3 steps forward, relax for a moment to enjoy successes, maybe even try to set your life on cruise control and then bam! Life smacks you down – a big project at work, family arguments, financial hardships. Life can come at you in full force sometimes. But if you stop trying, caring or hoping that negative momentum just carries you deeper in.
I think we forget that sometimes that struggles are life; not a time out of life, but actually a purposeful, meaningful, needed part of life. I wouldn’t like kayaking if I just sat in the boat and floated along – that is called a lazy river. Yes, I like moments of calm, but paddling is kayaking. Going through tough times is life. It is not a punishment, it is just life.
So don’t stop paddling; keep going. Sometimes the rough rides are what makes life different, unpredictable, fruitful and worthwhile.