Doing Something New – Day Two

City of Bristol Rowing Club

Day Two of Four of doing something totally new, here we go!

8am Woke up exhausted. Using the part of your brain that needs to learn new things takes a great deal of energy. I’m reminded that my brain’s main function is to conserve energy, avoid danger, and seek pleasure. Learning a new sport isn’t on that list, so naturally it’s tired. And so am I.

10am Looking forward to actually getting out on the water today. Start to imagine how the water will sound as the oar pushes through the surface and behind my boat.

12pm-5pm Distracted by work all day.

5pm It occurred to me I could flip the boat today out on the water, and I don’t know how to get back in. Also (my brain tells me), that water is cold. Decided to watch a video on how to get back in if I flip. Watched the video. Got even more nervous because that guy has way more upper body strength than I do.

6pm Learn to Scull class starts. She picks everyone else but me to get in their boats as I observe. I’m secretly relieved that I got to postpone all the embarrassment of “not doing it right” that I knew was impending. Then, I’m angry at myself for being secretly relieved – “You’re a life coach! Why are you trying to avoid embarrassment! We do embarrassment. We do shame. We do risk….” Then, I realize I’m being a human being who is nervous and I give myself a little grace.

6:30pm “Ok Jenn, it’s your turn. Get in the boat and then I’ll guide you off the dock to open water,” says Lauren, the instructor.

Oh boy. It’s happening. I take a minute to mentally go through all the steps. Push the oar out, hold the handles high, one foot in, then other foot in…and I get in with all the gracefulness of a dog slipping on a wet tile floor.

The boat teeters right, my stomach drops. I recover. And, I push off the safe, solid dock.

Brain: “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG. Don’t fall in. Where was I supposed to keep my hands? What did she say about balancing?”

Me answering brain: “We may fall in. We can swim. It’ll be a great story to tell later. But we probably won’t. We’ll probably use this time to make all our mistakes so we learn with a coach near us to help, rather than waiting to make mistakes and take risks with our form when we’re rowing alone.”

Brain calms down. Or maybe gives up arguing. Either way, brain is quiet.

And I row.

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