Floating Down the River: Embracing Change
And just like that, it's August.
I've been over here stretching out my summer as wide as it will let me, attending concerts and festivals, visiting lakes and rivers, and preparing for some big upcoming trips.
But this one activity I've done recently has stuck out: floating down the Neris River with friends.
No, not in kayaks or canoes - in lazy floating tubes. Yes, the opposite of white water rafting.
Now, The Scientist and I sometimes did this peak summertime activity in Texas with friends, lazying down a river with jokes and drinks, sometimes falling out a time or two and scraping on rocks.
Plenty of places in the States have a similar activity, but we'd never seen anyone do it in Lithuania - until we did it last summer with some of our closest friends. Yes, we did that - we brought it here. America's finest.
Something you should remember about me? For all of my free-spiritedness, I don't really appreciate being out of control, whether on a plane or a sailboat. Sure, I have pockets of joy that bubble up, but unlike my husband, who either sleeps on planes or goes all in on sailing, I can tend to get anxious.
You could call floating down a river Type 2 level fun for me. It's uncomfortable in the moment, but I do experience pockets of relaxation and amusement - and it always gets me out of my comfort zone in a healthy way.
Honestly, moving to Lithuania was a unique blend of Type 1 (hell yes!) and Type 2 (uncomfortable but rewarding) fun and growth. And as another example, my biking friends would likely say their longer rides are Type 2 level fun - exhausting, exhilarating, uncomfortable. Do you have something that comes to mind for you?
Back to floating, y'all.
I don't enjoy it. I mean, I do, but... it's in retrospect or once I'm out on the water feeling safe. The entire time before I got out onto the water, I was an introspective bundle of nerves, while all my friends blew up floats while curious Lithuanians watched. Once I dipped into the water and remembered our tubes were all linked together, I relaxed a little bit, but floating is always a large exercise for me in letting go of control. Compare it to something like a floating tank, and I feel way less stable - but it's just as essential for my growth.
It's clear who's enjoying this more.
Eventually, I relaxed even more, finding things to focus on: my friends' inside jokes, the ladybug that came along for the ride on my knee, the music, the people watching from the shores. Much like last time, I noticed people on the shore observing us wistfully, wishing they'd thought of something nearly as fun. I wanted to yell to them, "It's Type 2 level fun, though! Join at your own risk!"
By the end, I felt accomplished and exhausted, much like my friends' bicycle rides. This was no workout for my body like an exercise routine, but it was surely an exercise for my mind in letting go.
And if you're like me, there's always something to let go of, bit by bit, until you find an even newer you capable of snowy winters and life drawing and 5 hours of sun in January and creating an even wider community. Is there something you're letting go of control in - some story you're willing to let go of? I think my next goal, if I may be so bold, is to recognize that I actually do enjoy floating down the river more than I've led myself to believe. With such short summers, I've also had to become way more fluid and adaptable to change (this ain't no Texas!), knowing good is on the other side - Pumpkin Spice Lattes, mushrooms, and fall camping! Luckily, we're all capable of growth and change, and I hope you're doing that this summer, right along with me - or winter, depending on where you are in the world.
And as per usual, feel free to subscribe at the bottom of this page to receive a bi-weekly email from me on whatever's on my heart that day! And as always, I'll see you next time here at Into the Forests I Go - iki pasimatymo - see you soon!