A good friend recently spoke about the fact that you can tell a lot about someone by how they enter the sea. Those who stride in purposefully, without hesitation, are often the ‘go getters, the risk takers, the movers and shakers’. Those who inch forward tentatively, dipping their toe in first, are often more cautious in life. Perhaps those who admire others’ lust for life and have a burning desire to do more but hold themselves back through lack of confidence and self belief. Some others opt not to enter the sea at all, sitting on the shore watching the world go by. Maybe watching those in the sea and thinking, ‘’well, it’s alright for them, I could never do that.’’
This got me thinking about my own experiences of water and the sea. I love being in water as I can walk and move easily, feeling fully supported. When I was younger I swam multiple times every week and I adored it. As time went on and I became older and more body conscious, sadly I went into the water less and less.
One of my most memorable sea visits was when we went to Majorca on a family holiday around 1996. We went on an excursion with the activity club to the beach, I was in my wheelchair. I sat on the sand watching everyone else play in the water, getting more and more baked in the hot sun.
The club leader, Doug asked me if I’d like to go in the water. When I said I’d love to, we began to explore ways it could happen. I wasn’t confident to leave my chair to go into the sea, so Doug’s next question was ‘’It must be waterproof, right?’’ I agreed it was and he grinned saying ‘’ buckle up!’’ I looked at him, slightly confused but clipped my belt into place all the same. Next thing I knew, I was trundling towards the sea being pushed by Doug!
A minute later I was in the sea, feeling the cool water against my skin as it welcomed my chair and I. Doug’s reliable hand never left the handlebars of my chair and he was very vigilant, making sure I didn’t sail away. Within a few minutes I was completely relaxed and loving every second of this new, yet comfortingly familiar experience, in the sea but still in my chair.
I can honestly say that was the highlight of the holiday for me. Not only that but one of my favourite childhood memories. So why was it so special? I had the courage to say that I’d really like to get into the sea, rather than sit on the sidelines in silence, denying myself the experience. I had Doug who cared enough to want me to have the best experience possible and was creative and openminded enough to help me find a way. We also took a bit of a risk together, me trusting him to not let me drown and that my wheelchair wouldn’t be destroyed, and Doug knowing that he could keep me safe as well as keeping an eye on the other kids at the club.
Yes, my wheelchair took a while to dry out fully and it did have a bit of a squeak for the rest of the holiday, but it was worth every second!
If there’s a burning desire in your heart to do something, name it and know you deserve it! Then get creative with how you can make it a reality and keep an eye out for your Doug. The person who cares enough and believes in you and your dreams. They can be at your back, propelling you towards your goal and the steady hand for your moments of doubt. You don’t need an army, you only need one Doug