#39

At this point in my life, my strengths and weakness are becoming pretty clear. And not that I like to focus on my weaknesses by any means, but this blog entry relies on one of my biggest – balance.

Since I was little, my balance has never been my strong point. I can elegantly trip over my own feet standing still, and while that sounds like a unique talent, I assure you it’s never been beneficial.

I’ve tried everything from skateboarding to surfing, but I’ve just never been able to figure it out. Perhaps I’ve never really given it enough of a go, but after watching a documentary on bones at the age of sixteen, the fear of falling with my wrists out first has ever since had me fear unbalancing the wellbeing of my radius’.

But as all things go in my life, this determined bundle of ambition I call myself can’t seem to ever give up on the hope of one day not being capable of losing balance on flat ground (or in a room full of people at Pilates).

The thing is though, if you don’t keep trying, you never will learn something new. And I’ve grown to learn that the moment you believe you can’t do something, is the moment you quite literally can’t.

I met someone the other day who told me she couldn’t snorkel because she hadn’t ever had lessons. Now I’m not sure I’ve met one person who’s ever actually had a snorkelling lesson, so I was confused by the notion at the time. Put the mask on, breathe through the tube, swim. Granted it takes some getting used to at first, but I’ve always thought the process to be pretty straight forward.

The entirety of our trip at Isla De Potipot in northern Philippines, she refused to snorkel the beautiful reefs surrounding the island because she’d already made up her mind that she couldn’t. She was scared she would fail at it, and despite us all offering to teach her how, she declined.

And the more I think about it, the more it really stands out to me as a lesson on never imprisoning yourself in accordance to what you think is not possible. She missed out on a whole under water wonderland that day, and while she had every right to make that decision – I just couldn’t understand it.

So I guess when it comes to balance, why should the fact that I have none of it mean I should corner myself in. The reality is, I’m happy to fall off, over or out, if it means experiencing something new. Sometimes you just have to give something a chance and see where it takes you. To hell with the wellbeing of my radial bones, right?

Ergo, bucket list #39. Learning to stand-up paddle board (SUP, as it will from here on be abbreviated to).

It’s always been something I’ve wanted to try. I live close to the beach, and on the ocean’s softer days, it’s home to many people aboard SUPs. To stand on the roof of the ocean, under blue skies and sunshine, had always struck me as being the dream.

On the fourth day of being at Moreton Island last year, we had woken up to a windless morning. The sea was calm, and clear. So my Mr. and I decided to hire a couple of SUPs and give it ago. The added bonus was that I figured falling off into water, would turn out to be a much softer break fall than concrete.

I must admit that while I knew my balance and lack thereof, would keep things interesting, I didn’t anticipate just how hard it would be to stand up, let alone remain upright.

In the time it had taken my Mr. to help me push my board out, head back to the beach, grab his board, head back out, stand up and paddle over the small breaking waves – I had barely accomplished kneeling on all fours.

He could barely control his laughter in between shouting encouragement my way as I put on a show that could only be likened to Bambi’s first steps. With wobbly legs and a whole degree of arm-waving, I finally stood up after far longer than I care to admit.

From there things got easier. Turns out standing up was the hardest part for me, the rest was relatively straight forward. While the occasionally lump in the ocean unsettled my balance, I never fell off. However I will admit to a fair bit of yelling, “Don’t come near me!” and some use of my oar as a jarring stick whenever my Mr. would teasingly come too close for comfort.

After we had paddled ourselves up the beach and back, we decided to spend the rest of our last hired hour laying on our boards. From the depths of the clear blue waters, we had been spotted by a pod of playful dolphins. Sitting on my sup with a smile as wide as my face plastered on, I watched them swim, dancing through the ocean as if it had been rehearsed especially just for us.

If I could SUP and swim with dolphins everyday, I would – because I’m really not sure how it ever gets any better than that, even if it does take me a small lifetime to stand up.

Balance or no balance, never let your weaknesses define what your capable of. There’s always a way if you will it. You can always do something extraordinary.

#39: Learn to Stand-up Paddleboard – Check!

d x

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#66

When I was 12 years old, I broke my wrist riding a scooter down a hill. Granted that it could have been partly my fault given I had been sitting on the foot ledge rather than riding it properly, but you just couldn’t have convinced a younger me that this wouldn’t have ended in disaster at the time. Nevertheless, one fleeting 15 second ride led to a 6 hour wait in hospital and whole lot of not swimming in the middle of summer thanks to one very unfashionable cast.

When I was 13 years old, Dad let me drive the family run-around car back into the garage after we had finished washing it. It was one of those things that sounded like a good idea at the time, but later left you thinking why on earth did we do that. Because there were two things that went terribly wrong in the space of a few seconds. The first was that I forgot where the brake was; the second was that my soap-covered feet had little grip. Slipping on the accelerator was bad, crashing at a decent speed into the foundation wall of our two story house was worse, but forgetting where the brake was and plowing straight back into the wall a second time was downright priceless (in the most expensive way). This stunt also landed me in the emergency ward with a nasty gash to my forehead, and the requirement of a tetanus injection.

When I was 14 years old, I let my friend teach me how to ride her motorbike. I’d never ridden one before, nor did I really know how they worked – so naturally, this also seemed like a good idea. I actually hadn’t been doing too badly, the worst only happened when we decided to stop. You see, there’s a throttle on the handlebar and if you relax your wrist in the form of twisting down (don’t ask me how), you can find yourself tangled in a barb-wire fence pretty quickly with half a metal barb sticking out of your ankle, and a rather large third degree burn curtesy of the exhaust. Back to the hospital, and eight weekly burn dressings later – I never touched another motorbike.

When I was 15 years old, I let a boy push me down a grass hill in a shopping trolley. Was I sober? Yes. Was I smart? Not that day. Hitting a rock halfway down caused the trolley to capsize to the left crushing my elbow under both the trolley and myself. The stomach-turning crunch of my poor bones landed me a return trip to hospital, this time for a surgery and nine months of rehab. I still can’t look at shopping trolleys without cringing.

The point of these three stories is to show you that things with wheels and me, well we’ve never really gotten along. I purposely have never taken on a skateboard for obviously reasons, and have more than a few misfortunes to tell when it comes to my cars. The reality is, there would be less havoc in my life if the wheel had never been invented. But the greater good prevails, and as it turns out, they’re pretty useful in anyone else’s opinion.

But despite having sworn off wheels for the most part, there has always been one more set of wheels I’ve always wanted to try…

At #66 on the bucket list was to ride an adventure ATV, and call me crazy, but despite my unfortunate history with all things round – I’ve always been mentally prepared for the injury I would surely entailed completing this bucket list item.

When planning our trip to Moreton Island last year in November, I stumbled across an advertisement for riding beach ATV’s through the islands notorious sand dunes. Better to stack it on a balmy sand island rather than out in a balinese jungle, I thought. So I convinced my Mr. in no time (who is most definitely pro-theinventionofwheels, and master of all of them!) and we booked it in.

In an unlikely turn of events, I can confirm I managed to ride one without injury or a hospital admission… maybe wheels have taken pity on me and my battle scars after all. In fact, in comparison to the three tourists riding in front of my Mr. and I, who undoubtedly were more of a liability than even me, I think I did quite well. And I most certainly enjoyed every second of racing through the sandy figure-eights built low into the sand dunes, and over the tops of the berms.

Moreton Island is such a beautiful part of the Australian coastline, and to see it from behind the handle-bars of an ATV was such a great experience. Zooming along the shoreline on the beach at sunset is something I will remember as being one of the most beautiful sights I’ve seen. Even with the most wonderful of descriptive words, I couldn’t out-do seeing this place in person. It’s just simply something you’ll need to add to your own bucket list.

There is video proof of my successful ATV adventure in my latest holiday vlog, so if you wanted to check it out in live motion, you can click here.

And as for my war with wheels? Well, I’d like to believe that perhaps we finally made peace in paradise.

#66 – Ride an Adventure ATV: Check!

d x

 

 

 

Barricading the ‘Busy-ness’

I was driving down the highway towards my parent’s place the other morning with Igloo riding shot-gun, thinking about the term ‘busy’.

As of late, I’ve grown to really dislike the word. To be busy, is one thing. To let busy take over, is another. There’s a fine line between the two, and I’ve found there to be little to barricade the difference.

It seems to me that these days people have taken an odd sense of pride in the idea of ‘busy-ness’. As it if were a sign of great achievement, or self-importance to be busy all of the time. It’s almost like being busy were to mean that the life you’re living was more advantageous than others, and that no one else could ever understand just how much you had to accomplish. And when the busy it takes-over, and suddenly someone doesn’t reply to your message until five days later with the excuse that the week has just been “so busy”…the barricade appears non-existent.

I’m left to wonder, when did busy become an all-enveloping excuse for making time for the things that really should matter more?

Now, disclaimer: I’ve alway’s been a busy person. Self-confessed, I prefer the chaos. But I’ve never been someone to let it completely envelope me to the point of exclusion of all else – or at least, I like to think I never have. I have always aimed for balance, and found time for the things that matter most, like family and friends -because shouldn’t that be more important?

And so I’m not exactly sure why society has classed “busy” and “successful” as belonging in the same box when I find you can be both with, or without, the other. The internet describes the term busy in various ways, but perhaps my favourite description depicted busy as “spending time being cluttered with small, unharmonious details“.

We fill our time with small errands, and work schedules, only to then find little time for ourselves, let alone others – and I don’t think it’s healthy anymore to live like that. I’m all for to-do lists and productivity, but equally in love with bath salts and a good book. There has to be balance. There has to be time for other people, because your iPhone isn’t going to hug you on a bad day.

I think people need to change their perception of busy in the context of success. Because frankly, how could you ever think yourself successful in life if you let the busy-ness eliminate all else. Who would have left to celebrate the real triumphs with at the end of it all? Aren’t people more important than designing a new website, or replying to emails on end?

The bottom line is that we don’t have to be busy, we choose to. And I’ve always strongly believed that if you really want to do something, you’ll find time for it. So here’s my own self-acquired advice on barricading the busy-ness:

  1. Recognise
    It starts with recognising that life is fleeting, and should be filled with the things you love. There’s time to be busy, and there’s days to run errands. But recognise when work is becoming too much. Recognise when it’s becoming the barrier between you and the rest of the world. Don’t spend your time feeling chained to a busy life, staring out the window at the world passing by. Your body will often tell you that you need to stop, and when it does you need to listen. Recognise that there needs to be balance, and being productive does not come at the cost of a night out with friends or a night in with family. Recognise when life is becoming unharmonious, and focus on instilling harmony in it’s place. Chaos shouldn’t be the dot point on a map we find you living in.
  2. Prioritise
    Allocate time for being productive, and then allocate time to not be. I have found it so important to prioritise time to spend with family, friends or even just yourself. There’s something magical in leaving the laptop in the office and venturing to the oceanside where there’s fresh air and crashing waves – and the heaviness is given permission to lift from your shoulders. Find time for others, even when it feels like there is little of it left in your week. Not just because it’ll enrich your life – but because it will enrich the lives of others in your life who maybe just needed a friend during a hard week you never knew they were having. Prioritise your time, because I guarantee there will be nothing worse than looking back on your life on day and realising what you missed when you were busy being busy.
  3. Embrace
    Embrace the to-do lists and work towards your goals – let that be the definition of “busy”. But also embrace knock-off time when the day is done. Draw a line between work and play, and love it’s divide. Spend time with the people who have supported you since the beginning, and do the things you love. An email can wait until 9am tomorrow morning, just because it came through while you were getting dinner with a friend, it doesn’t demand an immediate response. The sooner you learn that you have a choice in being busy, the sooner you’ll find a better success than busy could ever bring.

 

That’s all there is to it. Busy-ness is a choice. And I hope you choose well.

d x