This is no ordinary camping. Her family has lovely homes right on the lake. After a long day my friends and I would LAZILY (as in barely allow the chairs to prop us up kinda sorta vertically) sit around the campfire. A child would appear and put a glass of ice water in our hand. An uncle would appear and put a fresh Crown and 7 in our other hand. A cousin would appear and play his guitar and sing. Another child would appear and ask us how we would like our marshmallows toasted (light, medium, or charcoal?) before putting them into a smores. Really? But yes, this is how we rolled, VIP style, all week.
You might be thinking, “What does this have to do with grey hair?” but I’ll tell you- very little. That’s because my grey hair is really not much of an issue and something I forget about most of the time. However I do credit my anime piggytails for a bit of courage.
As a girl that almost drowned when very little, I have always been a little afraid of water. I do not think that this is an excuse to coast through life in avoidance so I took swim lessons from a talented swimmer friend when I lived in DC and I was determined to squelch my fear when with my friends in Montana. Day 2 and the jet skis are brought out *gulp*. I put my hair in piggytails for courage. One of the uncles taught me (very patiently, I might add) as I slightly increased speed and stopped, sped and stopped. Eventually I worked up to speed at a slow/creep but still, I was out there.
As I dropped the uncle off to go for a solo spin, I started speeding up. I could feel a whisper of my mom there (more terrified than I of water); telling me that life is too short to be afraid of everything. I became acutely aware that I was speeding over very deep water and I accelerated: 25… 32… 37… 41… It was exhilarating! My friends said I looked like a silver streaked Bond girl zipping through the water. The jet skis were my gateway drug to more and more adventure. Alpine lift? Awesome! Luge down the mountain? Of course! White water rafting? Bring it on! I really couldn’t get enough.
I decided that this courage in the face of fear needed to apply to all levels of my life. I mean, why should I live paralyzed by a bunch of what-if moments? Even though risk does not necessarily equal reward, it does equal progress. So in relationships I’m putting myself wholly out there and I will allow myself to be vulnerable. I will take risks and stare fear right in the face. I will still be petrified but I will accelerate nonetheless because I know that ultimately this will lead to a full life. And THAT is the reward.