I’ve been thinking about how I sometimes choose not to do something because I don’t know how, or I think I’ll look stupid. This weekend though, I tried two new things just because I thought they sounded fun. First, I’ve been doing free classes at Athleta and this week was a barre class. I’ve never done it, but it was a lot of fun, even if I couldn’t point both my toes. But today’s adventure topped it all, seriously. I went paddle boarding for the first time, but not just straight up paddle boarding, I thought, hey, let’s try paddle board yoga, and I’m hooked!
In the past, I’ve aced myself out of paddle boarding because I can’t get my prosthetic leg wet. But earlier this week when I got the email from REI advertising their class, I stepped outside my comfort zone and signed up. I have spare legs (I know that sounds weird, but I do, a couple of them), so I wore the oldest one today and figured if it got wet, I didn’t care. It was the most peaceful, challenging, relaxing experience! Being on the paddle board made me stay focused and that helped keep my mind still – which is hard with all the randomness that roams around in it. There were geese, an osprey, and an otter that came to check me out in my plow pose. I’m so happy that I ignored my second-guessing and just went for it, to think I’ve missed out on paddle boarding all this time!
So it also has me thinking about the expectations we bring with us when we consider doing anything new. I’m learning that if I show up and do my best, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter if my friend is better, is doesn’t matter if I fall in the water. What does matter, and what gives me energy, is being outside, showing up, and knowing that I did the best I could. That was today.
I saw a great movie last night, Eddie the Eagle, which drove home this point. First let me say that I love the sports underdog movie, I’m a sucker for them. Rudy, Miracle, I could keep going but you get the picture. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a true story about an Englishman in the 80’s who wanted to go to the Olympics. He was not athletic, but didn’t care. Everything he tried he did the best he could. Eventually, he made it to the Olympics in Lake Placid as a ski jumper. He came in last but was so excited fans embraced him. At one point, “The Flying Fish,” Chris Fischetti, who was the top guy in the sport, told Eddie that they were the same. They both showed up and did their best, no matter that they placed vastly differently, they were the same.
I just love that. I love the idea that if you do your best you’re at the top of whatever it is you’re doing, whatever it is you’re pursuing. I think if more people could embrace that thought, instead of the self-imposed expectation that results in comparing ourselves to other people or what we think is “ideal,” we’ve find ourselves a lot happier and actually doing things we might not have otherwise tried.
Just do my best. That’s all God expects, that’s all I should expect. Look how it turned out today…I’m feeling “filled up” inside, motivated as I go into my week, and thankful for the joy today brought me.