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The Joy of Trying

On my quest for a challenge and taking me out of my comfort zone, I recently went for one day intro to paddle boarding! 

It was not a success in terms of standing on the board and gliding effortlessly through the sea.  I was the first to fall off backwards and the first to fall off forwards too!  No shame! No tears!  Just a lot of laughing.

And, getting back on the board was difficult ... 

I ached for several days, but a joyful memory was created.  I saw the three bridges in the Firth of Forth from very different angles.  Yes, Scotland in the sea in September, I must be mad! 

The adrenaline was certainly rushing.  

Excitement mixed with trepidation, yet I felt safe.  I had the life jacket and a great instructor. 

Falling in and getting back on is part of life.  I knew that I would fall in; I knew my friends would laugh; I knew they would encourage me to get back on; never once did I feel like I was a failure. 

Whilst paddle boarding is clearly not for me, it has not dented my sense of adventure or desire to try.

This led to a discussion about boundaries and how far I/we were prepared to go to seek new challenges, new excitements and fear.   Fear, yes fear

The fear of failure, or success ...
The fear of being laughed at or judged ... 
The fear of shame or trying again when we hold pain close to us and it makes us incredibly vulnerable ...
Why would we even want to try again? 

There are certainly activities that I won’t do – singing lessons, art classes and probably not dancing either. 

I once went on a Tai Chi weekend, and was offered a full refund at the start of the first break on the first day... I am told it would be good for me to try again. The jury is out on that.

I have learnt that life is too short to do something we don’t enjoy  

On a cookery course in Vietnam, I realised that life is too short to carve a tomato.   

My two left feet and lack of brain/feet coordination makes me shy away from any type of dancing.

At my brother’s wedding, I was supposed to be waltzing with my dad, but the truth was I kept crushing his feet. He commented that he had paid for me to have dancing lessons and yet I still couldn’t master a basic waltz.  I smiled, and replied, ‘No dad, you paid for me to go dancing!’  

What I did find in the paddle boarding lesson is a sense of joy.  

Joy of doing something new, of laughing with friends, of trying.   

Joy is a very strong word that has come into my life more and more over the last year.  I

heard a Ted talk and the phrase ‘pops of joy’ struck a chord.  When we get hung up in finding happiness, we miss out on seeing what is in front of us, real joyful moments. 

For me, it is the tiny espresso from the machine a friend has lent me (she thinks she is getting it back!); it is the smell of the woods beside my home in the early morning;  a packet of jaffa cakes; a smile; a chilled glass of wine at the weekend and so very many more. Simple uncomplicated joy.   

My friend Lynda set me the challenge of listing 100 things that give me joy.  It wasn’t hard to do, but it certainly has been one of the most meaningful exercises I have done this year.  Stopping, thinking, appreciating and seeing what brings me joy has created much more in my life.

The joy of trying is certainly up there. 

Here is the question, could you list 100 things that bring you joy?  
But more importantly have you stopped trying?

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