So, I set myself a challenge of having fun for 28 days straight. Today was Day 1.

The most amazing thing about this challenge is waking up in the morning and my first thought is what fun thing will I do today. This is so different than where my head is usually first thing in the morning focusing on, rushing around, kids, house work, all the stresses of life. As I had a meeting near the beach, I decided it would have to be a surf.

 

img_2261-2So I arrived at one of my favourite places, Noosa Beach, only to find the surf was nearly as flat as a lake. I was not to be deterred, the weather was perfect and the water inviting. As I pulled my board from the car, some guys walked by telling me not to bother as the waves were too small. I didn’t care, I would just have a paddle in the beautiful sea. I walked down to the beach and into the water. It was like heaven, the water was the perfect temperature, cooling my body down from the hot sun.   I paddled out easily (as there were really no waves.) As I paddled out, the knot in my stomach began to unclench. I looked around and in front of me was only one other surfer. Everyone else was left behind on the beach and the foreshore. I actually couldn’t believe it. Here I was on a Thursday, paddling out to the sea, with hours before me. My only purpose to have fun. I was on my own, just doing something I wanted to do. The feeling of freedom was overwhelming and also this weird kind of guilt. Guilt at having fun! I think I have always experienced this, there is so much we “should” be doing, working, achieving, cleaning the house, sorting clothes, I still have boxes to unpack from moving – yet here I was spending a day being frivolous. I couldn’t think of when I last did it. It was certainly before I had children. In fact, I couldn’t really think of many times in my life I have done it. Tears welled up unexpectedly and started falling freely down my face. Here I am a 46 year old woman crying because I’m having a day of fun. The realization that perhaps fun and freedom is what I need after the years of trauma I had previously faced. This would heal my body and mind more than any “course”, any retreat or any psychologist. Just time and fun.

 

When my tears cleared, a small wave came my way. This was it, I paddled hard, really, really hard and yes I was on, I stood (only for a brief second) and splashed into the cool water. I came up and started to laugh and paddled out again.

 

There was one other older guy out on a massive long board, his weathered face alive and his eyes glistening. I had watched him paddle and catch the small waves with ease. As there was no one around and we were both bobbing in the water on our boards we struck up a conversation. He was happy. He was there all day as the waves were picking up. He was there to have fun! Having explained I was a beginner, he started to encourage me. We would see a wave in the distance and he would yell out, “not this one girlie, the one behind is yours.” Then as we both would paddle hard, I would hear, “come on girlie, on the wave with me.” Usually, he would be up and riding it and I would be left behind, not paddling hard enough to be taken on the ride, having the giggles at being called girlie. So after a few attempts, he asked me if I would like some tips. Of course, I did. So, then he showed me how to hold my hands and paddle with my arms closer (apparently I had straight arms and looked like a chicken trying to fly.) His techniques helped. I was faster and stronger.

 

We sat out there for a few hours, two people who would never have talked in any other situation, and the world continued without us, time slowed. I paddled, he surfed and encouraged. Before I knew it, I had to go back to reality, back to responsibility. I waited for a wave, for one last attempt. I heard the now familiar, “C’mon girlie. Paddle hard girlie. On the wave with me girlie.” I paddled concentrating on my new technique. The wave took me, I was standing up, I was on. He was on, riding the wave ahead of me. For a brief moment we were in synergy. I rode it into shallow water, exhilarated, smiling, laughing, free and happy. I said goodbye and walked up the beach. After packing my things, I saw my new friend and asked if I could have a photo, a memory of my first day of my sprinklesoffun challenge. He agreed. This picture was of Roger and I after a great day.  Thank you Roger for making my day so fun!