I went water-skiing on Saturday for the first time in years. Fear has held me back from doing lots of things in my life.
I went to visit a friend at his Hawkesbury River property to get back to nature and have some quiet time.
I went there for a coffee. My friend was drinking a beer. He asked me if I'd like a coffee. "Um, I'll actually have a beer too" I said.
I rarely drink beer, but I thought I may as well do something different for a change.
So we drank our beers, whilst we chatted about life. Then his son said he wanted to go for a ski.
"Do it now while Amy's here because I need an observer in the boat" he told his son.
My friend, being a gentleman, scooped me up and placed me on the back of the boat and off we went.
His son went skiing whilst my friend drove the speed boat and I navigated.
When we returned his son said "don't put the boat back, Amy is going to go for a ski".
My mind, which is normally going at a million miles an hour, and coming up with reasons why I cannot do certain things, was unusually unresponsive. A combination of the beer, and being relaxed on the water, had stupefied me into a state of relative calm. But I still had some fight left in me.
"But I didn't bring any swimmers" I said.
"That's OK, just wear your undies" my friend replied.
"But I just washed my hair this morning"
"There won't be a wetsuit small enough" (I'm the size of a child)
"You can wear Ashlee's"
"But what if there's sharks" that was my mother talking now.
They laughed at me. "There's no sharks in here"
I sat for a nano-second.
"OK" I relented.
After 3 attempts to get up, I was on my way. Just like riding a bike.
Being very sensitive and thinking of things way too deeply, I couldn't help but recount my experience today, and the life lesson in it.
After skiing for a while, I fell off. The water had gotten choppy. I tried my hardest to hold on and keep myself upright and balanced. But it was just too hard. And I had to let go.
Sometimes in life we are faced with the same scenario.
To hold on, or to let go.
Whilst I was afraid to let go, and have to bob about in the water like a cork, waiting for the boat to come back and retrieve me, I had no choice. Imagining the eels, and fish, sharks, and other assorted river monsters lurking beneath, waiting to devour me (OK, I know I'm being dramatic), it was simply too difficult to hold on.
So it was somewhat of a metaphor I guess.
At times, as hard as we may try, it's easier to let go. To surrender to the inevitable. Sometimes holding on can mean getting more hurt than letting go. And only when we are faced with that choice can we realise there really is one way to go if we are to save ourselves. Even if you are afraid of what may lie beneath.
And we never really know what may be lurking beneath anyway. A lot of the time its all in our mind. And I've survived to tell the story, so there must be some truth to that too.
It takes strength and courage to hold on, but it also takes an equal amount of strength and courage to let go.