I decided during a trip to Mexico that I was going to learn how to surf. I was over 40 and wasn’t known for my grace and balance.
I had a great lesson, which sadly ended in a wave catching me and the board I was carrying, twisting me awkwardly as I walked onto the beach.
Undeterred by my aching back, I decided that I wanted to experience surfing again.
“Becoming a surfer” was going to require too big of a change in my lifestyle – I’m 3+ hours from the ocean and the nearest beach is not known as a surfing destination.
Instead, I decided to learn how to stand-up paddleboard, starting another Impermanent Push over two summers to figure it out. My logic was that I would improve my balance and get the occasional “wave” work on river currents and powerboat wakes. I also had a river nearby, as well as some lakes and a reservoir for more still water work.
Since I don’t have a lakeside home, and traffic is terrible in the DC area, significant planning needs to happen to incorporate stand-up paddleboarding in my life. Each outing takes at least 3 hours start to finish – including commuting, inflating the paddleboard, being on the water, deflating the paddleboard, and going home. I need to make a conscious effort to get out – this change is not as integrated into my life as would be ideal.
I still have some fine-tuning to do. A back injury tanked the few plans I had for paddleboarding in 2018.
There will be another Impermanent Push this summer as I incorporate stand-up paddleboarding as part of my training plan for the week-long canoe trip.
Because this is not a hobby that seamlessly integrates into my life, I have to create a schedule, determine what I need to accomplish during each paddling session, and identify where I want to paddle.
I am sacrificing golfing time with my partner (he’s not interested in paddleboarding) to do this. I’m also sacrificing time I could be spending doing other things – such as catching up on episodes of The Grand Tour, finishing the crochet blanket for a friend, or reading a book.
Hopefully, as you planned, you discerned how your change effort would integrate into your life and the sacrifices required to execute the change effort.
You may find that you need to modify your expectations – like I had to with surfing. I don’t have the resources right now to move to a seaside home at a surfing mecca.
Furthermore, as I thought about WHY I wanted to learn surfing (improve my balance), I realized I could get the same result from stand-up paddleboarding.
If I want to get closer to the surfing experience, I could take up whitewater stand-up paddleboarding. Much like surfing, but with more reliable waves and extra rocks. I have decent whitewater nearby on the Potomac – so at this stage of my life (living in DC, no current plans to move), it would be a viable option.
Determining where change fits in your life and the adjustments you may need to make to your plans to make that change fit better is all part of the process.
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