Since the accident there have been a number of things that have been taking away. It is much more than I initially thought it was. The greatest loss I had, besides the actual car, was my inability to paddle a river.
Nature in general is my go to mental reset, and always has been. However, since I found paddling that became my instant happy place. Even going through whitewater, it’s better than any day anywhere else. When the accident happened, I lost my go to mental reset. They were worried about the twisting, and the possible implications of hitting my head on a rock. Which is entirely possible situation because I’ve done it.
Today for the first time since March of 2017, I got to paddle my favorite creek. The Tohickon, or as we call it the “Toh”. It’s a 3 mile Class Three paddling difficulty. I had been out paddling maybe four times since the accident on little local runs, and they were wonderful. However, they weren’t whitewater.
I was so excited this morning that I was jumping up at down at Presenter’s School this morning. As it actually became time to get on the river, I was getting more and more nervous; I didn’t see my normal crew, but I did find another group to paddle with. They are one of the best communities out there. Shout out to the Philadelphia Canoe club for always been awesome.
Apparently paddling whitewater is like riding a bike. Once you have a depth of skill, your muscle memory takes over. I nailed every rapid and every line I wanted to for the most part. The water wasn’t that pushy and it was glorious day. It truly was me stepping back into my true self, and it’s the biggest step I have taken so as I claim my life back. Hours later and I’m still pumped about that run. It was exactly what I deserved, and I’m so glad my PCC crew and Grink were there to encourage. After the first rapid when I hit the tight eddy, I knew I was golden. It feels so right being back in my boat, and finding something else that I lost. Sense of self returning one boat length at a time.
I am not known to quit much of anything. I am blind, stupid stubborn. This was true in softball, college, and kayaking. I take it as a challenge when I can’t do something and work to improve it, and even more so when someone tells me I can’t do it for XX bullshit reason. I will prove you (or myself) wrong or be damned before I quit.
Rare people who don’t quit. stolen from the interwebs.
I would say the majority of people are not like this. It’s so much easier to quit; we quit people, hobbies, sports, and jobs. Why put up the hassle of doing a skill(s) and then possibly failing? The reason is because if you don’t try, fail, and get your ass back up, you’d never get anywhere. You also wouldn’t learn anything. You wouldn’t learn that scrapes and ego heal. Scrapes are easy, egos are a little bit more delicate.
So why persevere? There is no greater feeling of achievement and pride than when you fought, learned, and achieved command of a skill you persevered to learn. NONE. It feels so good. When that magical day happens, you have gone through the 4 stages of learning (disclaimer these are mine and my wacky brains’ alone):
1) try- which leads to 2 options
2) learn your mistakes
3) practice your form
The last step is worth all the aggravation of the other three.