moving forward

Some of you have seen this already, but here’s a post from a couple of years ago that means a lot to me. By the way, thanks to those of you who have been following my blog that long!

My World With Words

A few weeks ago I found myself sitting alone in a crowd, anxiously searching for a familiar face.

I was expecting a friend — until her text  told me not to. Now I was faced with sitting by myself at a celebratory service that would no doubt be an emotional, spiritual, uplifting experience (it was). I started looking for anyone I might know, a bit nervous but not wanting to seem so.

Thankfully, someone did appear, a more than gregarious man, well-known for being a bit of a character.  I’d only met him once for all of thirty seconds, but I didn’t hesitate to call out his name and invite him to join me. He did, and it made that service a whole heck of a lot of fun.

It wasn’t until days later it hit me:

this was not only the first time I’d had the courage to do…

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Let Your Fear Be Your Guide

At the age of 18, I went canoeing for the first — and last — time.

Don’t get me wrong. It was an extremely successful venture. I was with my church youth group at a river in northern California, known for its great canoeing. It was perfect for beginner and advanced canoeists alike, as the more treacherous areas all had an alternate route (walking).

In particular, there was one rocky streak known as “WipeOut Curve.” No one — I mean no one — made it through WipeOut Curve. I was in a canoe with my friends Debbie and Russ; Debbie was manning the back of the canoe, I had the front, and Russ sat in the middle, sans paddles. Both Debbie and I were novices, and we were advised to walk the path that bordered WipeOut Curve.

We weren’t particularly adventuresome gals, and knew our limits. We’d been doing well, handling the worrisome areas like experts, guided by Russ’s experience and our own common sense. It felt good, but the odds remained against us. For some reason I have long forgotten (quite possibly we were too self-conscious to walk in front of all the picnickers in our bathing suits), we decided to go for it. We headed straight for WipeOut Curve.

We made it.

The crowd of a two dozen or so people were incredulous and cheered us through the treacherous waters. We were focused on the river, so only Russ waved back, but we were thrilled. We had conquered WipeOut Curve. The two of us, who had never canoed before, had done what the most experienced canoeists hadn’t been able to do.

Group of Canoeists on a River Through a ForestWe successfully completed the rest of the route and enjoyed the admiration of the others in our group, particularly the boys, for the rest of the day. It was a high point of my teenage years.

I haven’t been back in a canoe since. The opportunity hasn’t presented itself, and I haven’t sought it out. But that victory has stayed with me.

The truth is, both Debbie and I were scared of wiping out, and that kept us upright as much as any skill we may have had. I don’t remember if it was the embarrassment of looking like drowned rats or the fear of hurting ourselves, and being teenage girls, the former is just as likely as the latter. If I’d had a choice, I may never have stepped in a canoe to begin with.

Except I did have a choice, and I chose to take the risk.

How many times do we succeed because the fear of failure is so strong? Is the victory any less sweet?

Taking a risk doesn’t always pay off. That day, the worst that could have happened is we failed to do what everyone else failed to do, so the risk was nominal. However, something about it motivated us to try the seemingly impossible.

The motivation doesn’t minimize the success. Let your fear take you places you didn’t expect to go. Yes, pay heed to the warning signs, weigh the risks, but be willing to take the curve.

Success is just around the corner.


Photo Credits: (River) © Jason W. Rambo; (River with canoeists) © Steve Boyko. Both stock.adobe.com.

Carefree and Campy

During our “break-up” talk, my now ex-boyfriend did everything he could to hurt me. One comment, however, had entirely the opposite effect.

“You’re kind of…offbeat,” he said, in a tone clearly not meant to be complimentary.

“Yes, I am,” I replied with a smile. Truer words were never said.

A junior high crush worded it differently, and at the time, it did hurt. “She’s different,” he told my friend when she asked the crucial question, “do you like her?” I felt like an outsider then.

As part of my offbeat side, I’ve always been drawn to the campy. While my wardrobe is actually fairly conservative, in fact, at this point, one might say, boring, I easily could have become known for a flamboyant style. Back in high school my life-long love of classic films began, particularly the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers films of the 30s. Their second to last movie with RKO Pictures, Carefree (1938), featured Ginger in a couple of outfits I desperately wanted to emulate.

carefree2
Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers

Carefree is not the best Astaire/Rogers film, either in plot or dance numbers, but this sweater caught my attention. It’s actually a bit, well, tacky, compared to what Ginger normally wore, but is true to the character, who has the hearts & minds of a variety of men and can’t make up her mind whom she cares for most.

If you can’t tell from the picture, it’s a picture of a heart with numerous arrows aimed straight for it. It also has what is, on me, a flattering neckline, and slightly puffed sleeves, a look I favored for a time in my teens (hey, it was stylish then, I swear.)

I probably wouldn’t wear it today, but the sweater still makes me smile. It reminds me of a time in my life that, like the title of the movie, was carefree. Yes, I had my concerns and burdens. It was not an easy time in my life. But when it comes to adult responsibilities, I had few.

Life was ahead of me. Choices were exciting, opportunities were boundless. There are still choices and opportunities for me, but my life no longer stretches in front of me. My health limits me at times.

Still, I look for that desire in my life to create something new and exciting, modified for the times yet not compromised. Perhaps it’s time to watch Carefree again.


Carefree