Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Let Go .. or Drown!


We were floating down the Tickfaw River on a tube, soaking up the sun while drinking cold beer.  As we floated towards a bunch of fallen trees near the bank, we slowly started paddling away from the bank and the trees.  We've done this many times before ... no big deal.  As Ken and I floated closer to the trees, we started paddling a bit harder and faster.  Before we knew it, our friends floated past us as we found ourselves stuck against the clump of trees in the middle of a strong current.

The relaxing day had changed so quickly ... I was now sitting in my tube, holding on to a tree branch, and fighting the current from sucking me underneath the mass of trees.  As I held on for dear life, an image popped into my head ... a nest of water moccasins!  I don't know why I had to think of something else to scare me, but now I was wanting to get out of this situation fast.  

Thankfully Ken was right next to me ... misery loves company!  I looked at him as if he should have all the answers, but he looked just as dumbfounded as me. We both looked around and analyzed our situation. The only solution was to let go of the tree branch and propel ourselves as quickly as possible to another branch a little further down that wasn't in the middle of the current.  Ken and I discussed our plan, and I told him I was scared to let go.  What if I didn't make it to the other branch and instead got sucked underneath the trees .. right into a nest of snakes?!  I'm not kidding ... this was a really scary situation that I never thought I'd find myself in while tubing the Tickfaw.

Ken said he'd go first so I could watch what he did.  I continued to hold on tight while Ken let go of the branch and quickly made it to safety.  Whew, he survived!  Okay, it was now my turn ... it was my turn!  I didn't wanna let go, so I quietly counted to ten and then let go of the branch.  I barely escaped death (so it seemed to me) and made it safely next to Ken.  We took a few minutes to catch our breath and then caught up with our friends that we were waiting for us.  Hand us a beer!

This tubing incident occurred about 15 years ago, but I've never forgotten it.  For some reason I thought of this day on the Tickfaw recently when thinking about our life lately.  It's kind of a good analogy, as well as the quote above.  Sometimes in life, you've gotta "let go" or you'll find yourself drowning.  That day on the Tickfaw, we had to let go to free ourselves from being sucked under with the current.  At this chapter in our lives, we have to "let go" of the routine & our businesses in order to enjoy freedom.  

I've written about this before, but I think one of the biggest hurdles in turning a dream into a reality is letting go of the comfort zone.  Heck, just like hanging on to that tree branch ... life hasn't been very comfortable anyway.  Ken & I get stressed and sometimes we feel that we're going backwards with the boat. We remind ourselves that our life and our dreams are priceless, and we deserve to "let go".  We both let go of that tree branch, and it's time to let go again.  This time, I'll probably go first.

I saw another quote last week that also rang true ... "Stop worrying about what could go wrong, and start getting excited about what could go right"!

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!

5 comments:

Emily said...

Great story and analogy! Glad you both survived to tell the tale. I remember one time out on our C30, trying to get to Okracoke Island off the coast of NC. We left at a bad time -- current opposing tide or something like that (my sailing knowledge is quickly leaving), and the water was churning like a washing machine. Our little boat was bucking all over the place, and with Barry at the helm, I was curled up in a little ball in the cockpit, holding our dog and in tears. We decided we had to turn back, but Barry had to time our turn around, in between waves. Once he got us turned around, the wave action pushed us back to the safety of the channel VERY quickly, and all the tension gradually drained from my body. We spent the next two days anchored at a quiet and safe spot just inside the barrier islands, and all was good. It's amazing how quickly things can go from fun to scary and threatening out there; so sometimes you have to know when to pack it in and realize the time is not right -- and other times, you have to take that leap of faith and go for it! Especially when the fears are mostly in your head and not "real", like the snakes. :-)

Keith & Nicki Davie/Dunbar said...

Great story, and great messages! Humans often have a "better the devil you know than the devil you don't" attitude - but so often it isn't true. If we'd just let go of that branch...

Ken n Cheryl said...

Thanks Keith & Nicki ... we do need to let go more often! Never heard that saying about the devil before ... true!

Emily, what a harrowing ordeal .. makes my tree branch sound like a piece of cake .. LOL! Getting caught up in those waves does scare me a bit .. among other things. Love what you said about fears being in our heads .. just like those snakes that never appeared.

Emily said...

Cheryl, you can almost always avoid the situation we got into by better planning. We should never have attempted to cross with tide opposing current. Lesson learned! If we had had the tide going out along with the current in the channel, we would have zipped right over to the island! Fortunately, no lives were lost. :-) So don't let our experience scare you but only serve as a lesson to plan carefully when heading offshore, even just a short ways offshore. The coast of NC is notoriously tricky at times!

Anonymous said...

Don't they film the TV show "Swamp People" near by there? No gators in that river? Heck with snakes. Gators. Snakes might bite, but gators EAT! No way for this boy. Reminds me of the movie Apocalypse Now. Never get out of the boat! Ken and Debra

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