Ever since early childhood, I’ve loved the ocean, but have been fearful of actually swimming in the waves. My parents did a gnarly job of instilling a fear of swimming. “You’ll drown!” they’d yell. And instead of teaching me how not to drown by improving my swimming skills, they kept me out of the water altogether. Pool parties, lake excursions, and beach days were always an issue. Yes, yes I’m blaming my parents. I know there is some fault there in me too for not pushing my own boundaries, but I’ve resolved that I’m definitely tossing my own kids right into the water.
Although swimming pools are no biggie, lakes and oceans are a whole other monster. Luckily, I have a fish for a boyfriend and have learned immensely from him on how to deal with waves. Yes I can swim, but I have little confidence in my own abilities and a fear of losing control in these vast expanses of water. Since we´ve been traveling in Panama and Costa Rica for the past month, I´ve really been pushing my boundaries with water. With the Caribean Coast´s bathwater warm water, it´s been easy to be lulled into the ocean. Just think of it as a splashy warm bath, right?
And then the Pacific Coast´s immaculate beaches and surf towns have even encouraged me to give surfing a try with the help of a few lovely ladies. Can´t say I stood up, but I can say I rode my first wave all the way to shore. Bodyboarding was a rush for sure.
But then today, out on the gorgeous sandy beach of Manuel Antonio, I got gobbled up by a wave and spat out in the sand. It was my own fault. I saw a wave coming and underestimated it´s size. I should have dove underneath like my boyfriend taught me, but instead I stood my ground when I wasn´t supposed to. After a few jolted spins and a mouth full of salt, I learned an important lesson – listen to whatever the waves command of you…. and adapt quickly. For now, I´ll just have to tilt my head and hope the water drips out of my ears. Maybe I´ll hear the ocean´s commands a little better now.