{13/05/2012}   Fears that develop with age

Yesterday I went kayaking on the sea for the first time (having had two sessions on a relatively still, ie merely windswept, canal).  I loved being on the sea and out in the open, especially as it was a largely blue sky.  However, I found the ripples that rocked my kayak quite disconcerting.  I tried to work out why I felt a slight fear, but falling in the sea doesn’t bother me (capsizing in the canal bothered me more, it’s the muddy water and squelchy canal bed that bothers me!), I wasn’t worried about drowning or being far out, I have no issues with any fish that might be in the water and neither does the depth bother me.  Then I realised what it probably was: I wasn’t stable or in control, in part because I am a complete novice and haven’t grasped any of the fundamentals of kayaking in a remotely intuitive way.

All that got me lamenting my pre-15 self, the one I didn’t appreciate, the one who was a little bit daredevil and when put on a horse (as was my beloved hobby from age three to 19) would want to go as fast as possible and over as many cross-country jumps as possible.  I say 15 because it was then, while climbing Cologne Cathedral, that I suddenly developed a fear of heights, and with that I think general fears started to creep in.  As it happens, I did try kayaking when I was a teenager but I recall being horrified about capsizing and rolling (I was a late developer in terms of embracing swimming, particularly as a “friend” “playfully” went a long way into the process of drowning me at a younger age).  I did all that and progressed to a lake that was so full of weeds you could barely kayak for getting wrapped in weeds at almost every paddle.  A slight digression.

I find it incredibly frustrating to not be able to do something with immediate competence (skiing, roller blading, ice fishing; things I have tried in my adult life for the first time and things which I appeared not to be able to do with immediate and apparent talent!).  I know the joy of a new pursuit is learning and improving, I just don’t like feeling out of control or unable to do something with at least a modicum of skill or potential.  Impatience?!

I suppose fears in this kind of context are born of over-rationalising and over-analysing, thinking far too much.  It’s just disappointing that I find it difficult to just go out and do things with that sense of really throwing everything, physically and mentally, into what you’re trying to do and ignoring the, “oh, but if I do this, this will happen and I might not like that”.  My mum used to repeat a phrase her mother used: never trouble trouble until trouble troubles you.  If I embraced that wholeheartedly, I can see I could learn and do things so much better.  There is an awful lot of fun and carefreeness to be had from, to use yet another phrase, throwing caution to the wind, something I think a lot of us stopped doing once we left the less responsible school years.


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