You know that feeling you get when you finally accomplish something that you have wanted to, and it makes you smile? Completely happy? The internal satisfaction of knowing that you set your mind to a task, took the time, energy, and resources to see it to fruition.
Yesterday, I finally kited. Really kited. It was wonderful. Incredible. Mark, after I returned from one of my best runs that he and I had both ever seen me do over our 8-month Student-Kite Instructor relationship, high-fived me, saying, “GIRL!!!! Awesome job! You are riding!” The grin that spread across my face, and a response, of “Oh my gosh!! I actually went somewhere!” was subdued in comparison to the somersaults and fireworks inside. I had an actual, legitimate, point of accomplishment; a milestone that I could measure.
Mark lives on Maui, one of the best kiteboarding places in the world. I forget how long he’s been kiteboarding, but I don’t question his skill, as he can launch and land the kite as effortlessly as I take a breath, and does a myriad of other fancy kiting tricks. Above all, what acknowledges that he really is the best instructor at the beach is that he can handle my whining, worries, and rescue me or my board when we are lost at sea. I joke that Mark is my baby sitter, and if that’s the case, child care, on a beach, in Maui, is something I wish I could afford every day of the week.
Best babysitter ever
Kiteboarders, the good ones, make the sport look simple; floating through the air, spinning, jumping, and then skimming across the aqua warm waves. I usually watch in gaping awe, partly because there’s shirtlessness going on, partly because it’s impressive, and partly in wishful wanting that, “Maybe someday…”
Mark being fancy
There were three goals that I set for myself when I moved to Hawaii
- Take kiteboarding lessons
- Go Skydiving
- Learn to play the Ukulele
I had never been to Maui before moving to Oahu (hence why I picked kiting in Maui instead of Kailua), but I had been kiteboarding. I had taken two lessons during a week vacation in Aruba. I had planned on only one, but had had such a good time, that I couldn’t say no to another, and seeing the foreign kite instructors again, that apparently had questioned, “Is the crazy blonde girl coming back?” simply sweetened the deal.
Tan, Tall, Dutch, and a kite boarder…many reasons to love Aruba. Check him and his work out at
I told myself that I wanted to learn to kite, knowing full well that I was picking an expensive hobby, a hobby that doesn’t fit well into a flight attendant budget. It wasn’t that I had friends that were stoked on learning that inspired my interest, although Jesse went to Maui for a day once with me. It’s not that learning to kite is an essential skill for my life success. It’s just that I wanted to learn. I love trying new things, working towards goals, seeing progress. Goals can simply exist to enrich life, and kiting, and the time that I have spent facing my nervousness, being frustrated, and then figuring it out, has been a bright spot in my already full and fun life.
Jesse not so sure about this kite boarding thing
My life is good. I know this, and appreciate it, but I do make an effort to make it that way. I am an active participant. If I want to go somewhere, I figure out which flights are best, what time of year I should go, and I drive to the airport. It’s kinda simple when you break it down. Goals take steps. They take time. They take work. Even fun goals aren’t always fun. Because of how busy I am, all over the place all of the time, my kite lessons were sometimes six weeks or longer between sessions, and it often took a little starting over, me being scared, and Mark reminding me of the basics. Constantly. I could have just given up or forgotten, because of the slow progression, but instead, I chose and still choose to think, “I’ll get this.”
Yesterday, I felt, finally, that “Wow! I got this!” I was flooded with that feeling that surfaces when a goal that is set is accomplished. That feeling brings a smile, a sense of awe, a rush of butterflies to my stomach. It’s warm and fuzzy, hard to describe, but maybe a little like the beginnings of falling in love. It’s like a hug from a best friend. Like the happiness you get from kissing. It’s endorphins and serotonin. It’s the way goals and hard work operate.
Kite boarding in Aruba
I have people tell me often, “I wish I could travel. I want to do what you do. I would like to learn this or that.” Well, you can travel. You can learn. You can make your life what you want. Who’s really stopping you, but you? There will always be reasons why something won’t happen or will not work. You will make sacrifices and trades for following your dreams and attempting to reach your goals. You may not reach them. You may be alone. You may fail, and fall, and be scared shitless. Often.
This year, and the past few have scared me. I’ve doubted myself. I still doubt myself. I sometimes wish I didn’t have such crazy dreams, such far off aspirations. I wonder what I am really doing. I have insecurities and uncertainty. I’m probably not much different than you. Life can scare me. Often. Kiting scares me. Clutching the board in my right arm, holding the red handle of the bar with my left, as the wind and kite drag me through the water, I get a tinge of nervousness. I really don’t know what to expect. I’m challenged. Through my doubts, I just keep trying, even when it’s not fun.
That’s life. You just keep trying. Just keep going, even when it’s not fun.
I’ve thought how ridiculous it is that I’ve spent so much time and money on kiteboarding, but I consider it an investment. I am an investment, because I believe that I am worth it. You are worth it. Invest in your dreams and yourself. Don’t live a scared life. Live like you deserve the best that life has to offer, and go for what you want. No one else will offer a handout of the life that you want, or make things happen for you. Sometimes you have to venture into the water alone, not knowing how things will turn out exactly.
Just go. Venture into something.
As a kiteboarder, I’m a beginner, and yes, I have a lot to learn. I don’t want to be without Mark walking along the beach, my security blanket, watching out for me, launching my kite, and there to offer advice of what to do better next time. There to listen to me say, “I kinda freaked out for a moment!” In life, when you set goals, bring people into your circle that you trust, that are smarter than you, that know a thing or two more than you do. To walk along the beach with you, and give you a high five when you come back.
My advice to you is pick something, go for something, hold on, and know you can let go. One of the first things Mark taught me when I began kiting was how to self rescue, and the very first step is letting go. There’s always a solution out of a sticky situation. Keep calm. Don’t panic. Yesterday, I was a little too quick to let go (wish that was the case in some other areas of my life). Don’t let go too soon. What may seem to you like the biggest fall you’ve ever taken, is the one that happens immediately before your most electrifying accomplishment.