Family Magazine

Accepting Your Limitations

By Journeymum

Accepting Your Limitations

I was sick the second week of swimming lessons, the week they placed us in the group that best fit our abilities. In the third week I was placed in the 10 meter class. I pushed off the pool wall and went right under until an adult jumped in and pulled me out. I was then placed in the beginners class where I was never taught to swim, you just kind of floated around in the shallow end for the whole hour. I’m not really sure who was in charge of the beginners class, but boy did they do us a disservice.

When I was in my mid to late teens I went kayaking with my Dad. I have no idea why I agreed to do it in the first place. Awkward from the start, I had to squeeze my plus size teenage body in to a life-vest, and swallow my dread that the kayak wouldn’t sink immediately to the bottom of the river once I got in it. There had been some heavy rain recently so the water was running faster and deeper than it usually was. I think I probably made it about a quarter of the way until I capsized. It was one of those slow motion moments where what was really only five to ten seconds felt like a lifetime. I was upside down in the kayak until I kicked my way out of it and fought my way back to the surface. I was done. I absolutely refused to go on any further.

I got back in my kayak and was towed by a young man who just happened to be the 9th or so place champion kayaker in the world. I joked about being the worst kayaker in the world. I’m fairly sure he bit his tongue and silently agreed! He got me to shore, dragged my kayak up out of the water and left me in what seemed like the middle of the country. I had to leave my glasses behind before we started off on the whole adventure, so I was quite blind. I wandered down a road until I came to a little house where a man and woman sitting on a porch offered me a drink and chatted with me until one of the kayaking employees showed up in a jeep to pick me up.

A couple of years later my Aunt introduced me to snorkelling, which I came to greatly love. Matt and I ended up spending many hours snorkelling together when he came to Australia. I still kept to the fairly shallow water because even as an adult I’ve never really learnt to swim. It’s on my list of things I want to learn to do one of these days.

I walked away from the kayaking experience feeling incredibly proud of myself. I know that most people might consider what I did to be quitting, plain and simple. I think I was proud to have at least made an attempt to do something so very far outside my comfort zone, and to feel complete confidence in admitting I wasn’t cut out for it. We can’t all be world champion kayakers, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t give it a shot.

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