A few days ago I went stand up paddle boarding (SUP-ing) for the first time ever. I met a few friends before sunrise, and we dropped our boards in at Hollywood Beach, cruised north for a bit, then headed south to Foster Beach before paddling back to where we started. The sunrise was totally obscured by
clouds, but eventually we saw the sun, already soaring up above the clouds on the horizon, its muted glow over the adding to the peaceful backdrop of the almost glasslike water around us.
At first I had a bit of trouble balancing but got the hang of it pretty quickly with the help of my more experienced friends. Later, my toes were a bit numb, making the balance more challenging, but I adjusted to that and continued paddling along, checking out the buildings to the west and the expanse of the water to the east. When we turned around at Foster to head north, the water felt a little choppy, and I faltered again, nearly falling but landing safely on my knees. I decided to kneel for a bit, which brought the added perk of feeling my toes again, as well as being steadier and moving faster. A few minutes later I stood again, my balance much improved with my almost fully functioning feet. I stood strong and powerful, yet faltering from time to time, mostly when I stopped paying attention to my body and/or when a little wave caught me off guard.
I am trying to get as much outdoor active time as possible before the winter. This is not unusual, but this year it carries a stronger sense of urgency, as our ability to safely gather and share in close quarters will continue to be limited. I am not afraid of the winter; I am, however, preparing for it, anticipating the need for a strategy to stay healthy in every sense of the word.
I think if I can stay balanced, I can stay healthy – even if that balance looks different than it has this summer. That means…
- a balance between indoor and outdoor time, which means finding creative ways to get
outdoors. (Shall I take up running again? Cross country skiing? Maybe even surfing on Lake
- a balance between being alone and spending time interacting with and connecting with others.
(Who will I share space with and under what conditions? Who might want to get outdoors with
me? Will I start to use Zoom again to gather with friends?)
- a balance between screen time and non-screen time (What books do I want to read this winter?
What are some new recipes I can try in the kitchen? Can I start a craft project, maybe take up
I know that if I am mindful, if I pay attention, I can stay upright without falling off my board, even if unexpected waves come (and they will come). I know this because after all this is just life. Yes, in many ways, life is more challenging now than it was a year ago. But the more we practice standing up and even kneeling when we need to, the better we get at finding and maintaining our balance. And if we lose focus or get knocked down, we can always climb right back on and keep paddling.