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If You Never Did, You Should

By Jessica Bellofatto | Posted on March 4, 2011

“If you never did, you should. These things are fun, and fun is good.”—Dr Seuss

Happy birthday to Dr. Seuss (born March 2, 1904) and what a fantastic message to us all. As I prepare for our women’s Yoga and SUP retreat with my friend Gina Bradley (founder of Paddle Diva) here in Rincon, Puerto Rico, these words most definitely resonate with me.

My kids were here last week on vacation with me. My nine year-old son is a beautiful, thoughtful and very, how shall I say it, CAREFUL child. I sometimes wonder to myself where he came from! I had prepped my kids in the weeks leading up to this trip, telling them they would be taking surf lessons while we were here. My boyfriend had them on the INDO board at our house, pretending to ride the waves. They were stoked.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. I scheduled a surf lesson and told my kids about it. “NO!!” they both protested. “We don’t want to surf.” My son protested the loudest (my five year-old daughter simply following his cue). He explained to me (and it was clear that he had considered it well) that there were rocks, and a reef, and coral, and sea urchins, and SHARKS out there, and what if and what if and what if????

My mom and brother both questioned me as to why I was pushing the issue. And I explained to them, as I explained to my kids, that we shouldn’t allow fear to limit us. That we should try to live in such a way that we are open to new experiences; that it is ok to be cautious, and it is ok to have a certain amount of fear or anxiety, but that we can not live our lives dominated by that fear. We went down to the beach, where a very cool male surf instructor “hey duded” my boy, and where a sweet, blond female surf instructor coaxed my daughter. The kids practiced their pop-ups on land (going from their bellies on the boards up to a surf stance), and then out into the (gasp) wide open ocean they paddled (my daughter went tandem on a soft top board with her teacher).

A while later, both children boogie board back to shore, smiling from ear to ear. This experience was most profound for my son. The look of accomplishment on his face brought tears to my eyes. He had done something he was afraid of. He had faced it and realized that it was not BIGGER than he was. That the thought itself was much scarier than the actual experience. And he had had so much fun, that he begged for surf lessons every day of the trip…. STOKED, for sure!

So as I prepare to greet nine women today, some of whom have never been on a paddle board in their lives, some of whom have expressed a very real desire for getting back into shape, for turning their lives around with this retreat, for facing some fears, for empowering themselves through their bodies and discovering what they are truly capable of, I think of my own first surf lesson, and the fear I felt looking back at what seemed to me to be a HUGE wave, and then the exhilaration I felt taking off on that wave (falling or not, styling on that board or not — no matter). What mattered was the joy, the FUN, the sheer thrill and the accompanying realization of “I did it.”

So, if you never did you should. These things are fun, and fun is good!!!

Here’s to LIFE. Let’s live it.

This blog was originally posted on Athleta.com