Hey, all you thrill seekers out there! You know that mind-numbing, heart-racing feeling of absolute elation you get jumping off a cliff into the lake, whizzing across a zip line or zipping on a motorbike through traffic? I don’t. At all. Because YIKES. Let’s make one thing very clear: A risk taker, I am not.
How do I know this? Let’s rewind a few decades, all the way back to sleepover camp when every other kid was scrambling to try the next new fun activity first. You’d always find me in the same spot—at the back of the line, trying to blend into the woods. Obviously, I wasn’t much of a camper, and even more obviously (at least to me), those kids were nuts. Any activity that had the power to make you feel superhuman—like somersaulting on the trampoline, or diving into the lake or anything else that required me to swallow my fear—well, it wasn’t happening.
Taking risks with my body (and my life) just ain’t my thing. What I enjoy is staying all cocooned inside my comfort zone where I’m safe and warm and happy. And slipping on ice and breaking all the bones in my leg didn’t help matters. Now I’m even more averse to trying anything new.
What if I break my neck next time? What if I fall again and can’t get up? Or most likely of all, I start screaming and make a spectacle of myself? Ugh.
Well, this summer, I’ve come a long way, baby. Maybe it’s my age (Oh hello, 50) but I’m feeling a new and wonderful emotion and I’m pretty sure it’s called Courage. These days, I find myself itching to get out there and try new things, even if I can’t picture myself doing them. The chances of disaster are slim. And who cares what people think of me, anyway?
Take spinning, for instance, which I always swore was just “not my sport” and is now necessary to get me moving in the morning. And now, for my newest challenge: mastering the art of the jet ski.
Just last week, even the thought of flying around on a hunk of metal on the water was laughable. No way was I doing anything that could result in me simultaneously screaming, sweating, shaking, and worrying about the inevitable bladder leaks I would experience from all that bumping around. And, of course, there was the mortifying possibility of me shooting off the thing into the lake as gracefully as a whale.
Then we got a jet ski at the family cottage and everyone, including my 75-year-old mother, was taking turns learning to ride it. That was when courage (and a little peer pressure) won out, and I decided to take my fear (and my life) into my hands.
First, though, I had to get prepped. I started by lifting my spirit with all manner of positive affirmations, as in “You can do this, girl!” “50 has nothing on you!” “You’ll be a whole new you on Instagram!” Who cares if I look like a freak? I tried to convince myself. No one’s watching anyway. Except the entire Internet, that is.
I also took the time to prep my body for the ride. At this point in my life, I’m all too familiar with the feeling of stress urinary incontinence, especially when I’m active. As much as we women may try to ignore it happening, it’s just something we have learned to live with. The fact is, any pressure on the bladder—be it sneezing, coughing, laughing, or exercise like spinning or bouncing on a jet ski—is going to cause leaks in 1-in-3 women. It’s just another fact of female life. The question is, how do we plan for it?
In this case, since I was likely going to get wet, it was clear that panty liners weren’t going to cut it (and come on, who wants VPL when there’s a bikini involved?). So, to make sure I was fully protected on the water, I used Poise Impressa, which actually stops you from leaking in the first place, rather than absorbing leaks. I actually forgot I had even inserted it, but found I was comfortable and discreetly protected for the rest of the day.
Armed and ready, it was time to conquer my fear, take control of the machine, and stay nice and dry on top of the water. I was going to ride that jet ski, come hell or high water (literally).
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. It was hard work keeping myself focused in the present and shutting out those worst case scenarios from flashing through my mind. But I was determined to try to appear calm. Especially since we were recording the adventure for posterity (and yes, a few good laughs).
How did I do? Well, despite my shaky voice and a few little shrieks, I’m pretty proud of this first run, slow as it may be.
What was all the fuss about? SUCCESS is easy!
The thing is, though, you don’t really face your fear if it’s quick and easy. There’s no real risk until you’re challenged, until you get your butt out there to try again in the hopes of perfecting your skill. Until you jerk the wheel to fast and suddenly feel yourself sliding hopelessly off the jet ski, landing with a grand splash, freaking yourself out, and soaking your beautiful blow dry.
Looking back now, I have to say that climbing back onto the jet ski was the real moment of courage for me, and as I rode back to the dock to hoots and applause, I felt all the brazen feels shivering down my spine. No risk, no reward, I guess. Comfort zone be damned.
Note: This brazen experience and post were generously sponsored by Poise. All risk taking and opinions are all our own.