Last summer, at my husband’s family reunion, we enjoyed an unexpected hot summer day. We gathered at his cousin’s farm, with lots of space for activity, but some of us preferred the shade. Generation-1 (aged 70+) sat in the cool barn/garage/party hall, while Generation-2 (us) hung out on the patio in the shade with our beers. Generation-3 bombed each other with water balloons and squirt guns while the few Generation-4’s either hung anxiously onto mom’s shorts or adventurously hopped onto Great Grandma’s roller scooter, circling the driveway. Somewhere along the line, one of the Gen-3’s (about 20) showed up with a snake board and dared his cousins to ride it down the hill. I joined my husband and 2 other Gen-2’s to watch and take pictures.
Soon after my stepson Robert tried it out, with some success, someone asked me if I wanted to give it a try. I hesitated. I’ve been snowboarding almost 20 years. I learned to kayak; tried rollerblading decades ago; done some high ropes courses; have whitewater rafted a few times; and lots of daring things. Lately, I’ve been pretty comfortable with my competence in adventure sports. I’ve successfully turned down attempts at wild things the past few couple years. Why try something new now? Too late to teach an old dog new tricks….
Robert assured me the concept was not much different than snowboarding as far as balance – except, of course the board moves, it has wheels, and it travels on concrete rather than snow. “Besides, you’ve taught hundreds of people to snowboard, so you should be able to teach yourself.” I couldn’t argue that, so I tried. With my husband Chris holding my hands until I got somewhat steady, and with Robert and the other 20-30 year-old's cheering me on; there I went, out of my sporty comfort zone for the first time in quite awhile. I managed to stay on the board for probably 20 seconds, and ‘glided’ about 6 meters – more like wobbled – until jumping off. I had no intention off falling off.
Meanwhile, Chris had his attempt, lasting at least twice as long as I did, and took a dive in the grass once the descent was faster than he wanted to deal with. He felt like a safe crash was better than getting injured. Again, he’s amazingly competent at ‘drop and roll’ snowboard moves.
I noticed that I was overly cautious, thinking too much, trying to figure out how to do it right, rather than just relaxing and having fun. How much would the experience been more enjoyable if I allowed myself to have more fun with it, just enjoying the moment.
With all that said, it added a little fun to our family reunion; and it was a relief we tried it before we had a couple of beers.
It’s been almost a year, and I haven’t tried a snake board since.
What I learned from all of this:
- It’s fun sometimes to get out of the box
- I should add more play into my life
- It’s good to take risks
- It’s okay to fail
- I saw an opportunity and took it
- If I had relaxed, I would have been more successful
- Sometimes a little fun interaction is better than sitting around
- I’m not afraid of looking silly
- Sometimes when we try something new, it’s okay to show the lack of experience
- An attempt at something new builds confidence
- I have to take some action in order to move forward
How can you apply some of these observations in your life – realistically and metaphorically?
How can we add more fun and adventure into our lives?
Can we afford to take a little more risk in our lives?