“SUP” is normally the “romantic advance” of some Joey Tribiani wannabe internet dating prospect and it means there is a limited ability to form a complete sentence on the other end of the keyboard. As in “SUP, how you doin’? You’re looking fine. Nice legs!” It’s not usually a good time. In contrast, SUP, as in Stand Up Paddleboarding, turned out to be the best time EVER.
I dreamt about trying it for some time but never found the nerve. The week leading up to my birthday is normally reflective and I focus on my goals for the coming year. I also try to convince myself I’m not too old to try new things. YOLO. (#shudder). Carpe the heck out of this Diem. I think about what I want in life. I was struck by how much my life has changed in the past year, my relationships, my writing, demands on my time. Nothing really made sense and I felt lost and adrift. I don’t know if I was late to my quarter-life crisis or early for my midlife crisis, but there I was, booking an intro SUP class with Wake Up Sup.
I was a bit apprehensive initially, but I realized my instructor was my former yoga teacher, Wendy (HI WENDY!). Wendy is an amazingly calm spirit. What a small world! Instant not nervous. I was introduced to the anatomy of the board, a bunch of important words that start with W and in no time at all, we were on the water (one of the Ws). I had a good ten minutes or so of feeling like a highly intoxicated adolescent moose trying to get my balance, but soon, I was moving from prone, kneeling and standing with ease. It turns out I’m not the strongest paddler in the whole world, and I started off going in circles because PADDLE ON BOTH SIDES, SILLY. When I figured that out, I was still slowish, but I was no longer emulating a teacup at Disneyland or in danger of losing my lunch.
Stuff happened on the water. It’s not Vegas, so I can tell you about it:
I found balance.
I felt steady on my feet in a way I haven’t in a long time in my world. I felt secure, like I wasn’t going to fall. Maybe I can’t find true balance in my whole life, but I found it on the water.
I found disconnection.
I took a break. No beeping anything, nothing chirping. I was un-notified. It was bliss. There could have 500 message waiting and I didn’t care. This was me-time and it was magical. Leave a message at the beep, yo (soccer mom voicemail)
I found connection – with nature.
I draw a lot of strength from the water. I’m at my happiest on the beach, in the water, or in the sand. I spent a bunch of years in the Okanagan and the water is my happy place. Water can take me from meltdown to Zen in twelve seconds. It soothes the savage writer.
I let go of competition.
I was with some really nice ladies and they were much better paddlers than I. I watched them glide effortlessly across the water and felt envy. I felt clumsy and awkward. I took a deep breath and let it go. This was my journey. They were on theirs. I’m normally a driven, type A ambitious force of nature, and I needed to let that sh*t go if I was going to enjoy this experience.
Wendy said “SUP til life makes sense.” I don’t know when life is going to make sense again. Everything is so different these days. I’m a single mom. I lost a grandparent I love very much. My writing career is taking unexpectedly exciting but unlikely directions. I don’t know how to parent a grieving child. Nothing makes sense. It’s all new territory. I’m 32 today.
I want to make this year meaningful to me and while nothing makes sense, I do know that it all makes more sense on a paddle board. I plan to be on the water as much as I can this summer (and throughout the year).
I’m excited, delighted and thankful, so I say to the coming year “SUP, 32? How you doing? You’re looking pretty strong from here. Nice legs!”
If you live in the Fraser Valley or Lower Mainland or plan to visit here and want to get out on the water, I suggest checking out Wake Up Sup. The schedule is here. She sells boards too if you already know what you are doing but are looking for a sweet board.
This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my own lesson and decided to write about it because I loved what I experienced and had to share. I am not very good at keeping secrets and Wake Up Sup is a company that more people should know about. It’s a public service, really. You’re welcome, friends. Say thank you by commenting with what helps you make sense of life. Can’t wait to hear all about it.