Paddle boarding is like living with MS.
Ever since being diagnosed ~ 16 months ago already ~ I have been pushing my body. To become more and more healthy, but also to explore outdoor activities and sports I’ve always wanted to try. Besides, if you’ve got Multiple Sclerosis, you can never get enough Vitamin D. This past weekend my outdoor adventures led me to… paddle boarding! New obsession locked in.
But let’s go back a minute. It has been very hot outside lately. Not just hot actually; miserable, horrific, crappy, pain-in-the-ass, terrible for those with MS, hot. Remember, heat is the mortal enemy of MS. It brings our worst symptoms to the surface and turns even the very best of us into sad puddles of complaining mush. Losing feeling in my legs right in the middle of a workout, tremors while trying to sleep, and hard core impossible-to-ignore fatigue are just a few of the wonderful things the heat brings. It hasn’t been the easiest to stay positive or even write a blog post, which is usually one of my favorite things to do.
So fast forward to Sunday morning – before it gets so hot I want to crawl back into bed. I am standing staring at waves crashing close to the Malibu shoreline and wondering how the heck I am even going to get past those on my board, much less stand up and paddle around like it’s nothing. But before I know it, I’m running towards the waves, jumping on my board and paddling past the break. Like it’s nothing. No overthinking, just focusing on the board and the calm… way out there. Eyes ahead.
Now I’m in the calmer part of the Pacific; soaking in the gentle lap of the waves against the tip of my board. “What next?” I think… oh yeah, stand up I guess. So I stand up. I keep on paddling, looking straight out at the abyss, way out there. Eyes ahead.
And that was it. A few years of wanting to try ocean paddle boarding and in 5 minutes I’m standing on a board in the ocean in Malibu, not thinking, not complaining, feeling free and calm and happy and strong and at peace.
In the hardest of times, you figure out how to work with what you have. For me, I’m learning to do the physical stuff early, before it gets too hot. And if I just focus on what is in front of me, most of this lousy MS crap fades away into the horizon.
One moment at a time, every day, every breath. Eyes ahead.