Paddleboarding and a Reunion in Atlanta

Waking up yesterday on the lake was one of life’s simple pleasures.  I opened the blinds, and looked out to see the sun high above the water (sleeping in is also one of life’s simple pleasures).  Stephanie and I ate breakfast with her family, then she taught me how to paddleboard.

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For those not in the know, paddleboards are bigger surfboards with a greater ability to balance.  You’re supposed to stand upright on them, propelling yourself across the water with an oar, looking a little like Jesus on a Segway.  My comparison to Jesus is intentional, because watching Stephanie navigate gracefully over the water looked like some kind of supernatural miracle.  And I very rarely experience miracles.

Since I can barely swim in an ocean with high buoyancy levels, I knew death was immanent if I fell off the paddleboard.  On went my lifejacket, and then Stephanie helped me kneel on my paddleboard.  I moved forward with my oar, and she praised me very highly, like a child taking their first shaking steps.  Like a child, I blossomed under her praise and stopped sitting on my heels, balancing on my knees instead.

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Pretty quickly my thighs protested this physical exertion, so I pretended I was fine as we paddled out to a little island further out in the lake.  “I’m going to stand up,” I told Stephanie.  I laid the oar across the board and crouched on one foot.  “I’m going to–no, I can’t do it!”  My lack of balance combined with nervousness meant the paddleboard was shaking ominously.  “Do you want me to take your oar?” Stephanie offered.  She took it, and I summoned all my courage.  I grabbed the edge of the board, put one foot flat, and then the other, pushing myself into a standing position before I could back out.

“I DON’T LIKE IT,” I screamed.  I collapsed to my knees, then collapsed further to sit my butt on the board, legs dangling on either side into the water.  Stephanie cheered as though I had accomplished something greater than standing, and I weakly took back my oar.  We paddled back to her dock, my legs shaking the whole way.

I’m so brave, y’all.

After our morning exercise, we left the lake house.  Stephanie drove me through Auburn, where she went to school.  We grabbed a quick lunch, then continued our drive all the way to Atlanta, Georgia.  I LOVE having single women friends in my life again.  Especially single women friends who will talk to me about how hard it is to be single, then carry on a conversation about postmillenialism vs premillenialism.

In Atlanta, we arrived at a hotel, waited in the lobby and…rushed to hug Lindsay Talley!  She was in the city for a play therapy conference, so we sat in some swanky chairs and caught up on everything we’d been through since graduating in May.  One of her cohort joined us for dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill (bison is delicious), and let me tell you, I felt zero twinges toward wishing I were in school or working as a counselor.  I’m so grateful for my education, and I have no doubt that it prepared me for SOMETHING, and maybe I’ll be a counselor someday.  But I find it much more exciting and likely to imagine myself doing things like Greece – using my empathy and knowledge to teach, encourage, and strengthen people outside of the context of a counseling office.  But who knows.  I definitely don’t want it right now!

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After just a couple hours, we had to say goodbye.  This was made easier for me, since my roadtrip will soon take me to Dallas, and I’ll get to see Lindsay again.  Stephanie and I continued to talk the entire three hours back to Birmingham, where we grabbed late night ice cream before heading to her parent’s house in town.

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