Thursday, February 11, 2016

How To Start Something New (A kayak lesson)

Today I Like It takes a different turn. I'm not reviewing and endorsing a book but instead will be recommending kayaking. But wait, if kayaking interests you about as much as BASE jumping off the CN Tower, have no fear, this post isn’t only about kayaking. It’s about starting something—trying any new thing—at whatever age you happen to be.

Two years ago I had never sat inside a kayak. It looked like it might be “fun,” but I was way too old to try a new sport, wasn’t I? Nevertheless, I looked with longing at kayakers on the television, in videos, on Facebook, or on the lakes and rivers near my home. “Is it fun? Is it easy to learn?”

Yes and yes, I was told.

My first kayak was a molded plastic one of the kind that are available at any department store. In other words, it wasn’t a real kayak but more of a toy. Since I really wanted to try it, maybe this would be a good introduction. So, for my birthday, my husband bought for me a bright yellow 8 foot plastic kayak. I kayaked that summer, mostly around our sailboat, since that’s where we kept it. I loved it.

Then came last winter when we were in Florida and had the use of two Old Town Loon Kayaks, My first reaction when I got inside was - there was something wrong. I was barely paddling at all and I was going. Fast. And straight. Was there a current? How could there be a current on a lake? This was not my experience with my beloved yellow plastic kayak. I learned that this is what kayaks are supposed to do— track straight in the water and go pretty fast. 

This past summer we gave my yellow kayak to a grandson and bought two Old Town Heron 11’ kayaks. We probably spent more of our summer kayaking than we did sailing. And now we are thinking of trading in our Heron 11XTs for two of the brand new Loon 126s

To me kayaking is sort of like swimming, and I adore swimming. Oddly, I go back in my memory and I can’t remember a time when I had to learn how to swim. It just always seemed that I knew. When I see water I want to be in it. Because you’re so close to the water level in a kayak, it fills my swimming need.

Kayaking is only one of a number of new things I have done since I have officially entered my dotage. I’ve become an Indie author, and if you scroll back—way back—in my blog, I write about leaving Christian publishing to write mainstream mysteries and publish them independently. I chose to ignore the voices that said, “You’re too old to try something new. You’ll lose all your readers…”

Maybe the voices have been partly right, but I’m gathering new readers, and I’m enjoying what I’m doing. And that's what it's about.

I’ve also, in my dotage, had another look at the faith I grew up with. Am I too old to believe a new thing? I wrote about that in my previous post where I endorsed the book Faith Shift. 

As well, since January of this year I have taken up colored pencil drawing. This began rather timidly with a colouring book. This past spring with some birthday money, I bought said colouring book and a package of colored pencils. I ended up loving it. I loved all the mixtures of colors I could get on the page. It was almost like fingerprinting.

A month ago I decided that maybe it might be fun to draw my own pictures and color them. Now, I had never drawn anything before in my life. Both my father and mother were talented artists. I have a brother who is a super phenomenal artist, and a very creative sister, but I always thought the "creative" gene for me landed in writing rather than visual arts, so I never even tried.

Well, after enjoying color and colouring so much, I decided what the heck? Why don’t I just “try” drawing? So I did, and I’m loving it. And something else wonderful is happening to me. For the first time I am noticing things—the cracks in the sidewalks and what color they are, and can I duplicate that on the paper? A week ago in church I was mesmerized by the chalice and bread on the table at front, the way the sun from the skylight shone down on it causing little dots of white to appear all over one side of it. White. Yes they were white. Could I mimic that? Maybe.

There are many examples of people starting late in life to do things and succeeding. Here are just a few (some require no explanation):

Colonel Sanders

Grandma Moses

The 77 year old body builder Ernestine Shepherd

Helen Hooven Santmyer whose first novel was published when she was 88

My friend Richard Mabry whose first novel was published until he was 70 and now with 9 novels under his belt and in his 80s he’s still going strong.

My friend’s mother who, when she was 88 decided she’d had crooked teeth long enough and got braces. Her teeth straightened so well, and the dentist was so proud of his work, he put her in his local TV commercial. She was then 90.

Another friend who began kayaking when she was 75 and it has become a favorite summer activity for her.

And then there is my writer friend Martha Rogers who started writing novels when she was 63, but didn’t get published until she was 73. Now, at almost 80 she’s still writing every day and has written and published 13 novels, 3 novellas and has Indie published a novella.

A week ago we while kayaking here in Florida, we went through a portal and ended up in heaven. I swear this is true, We were kayaking on Chassahowitzka River. I thought - I would have missed this if I hadn’t simply tried something new two years ago. It was almost too beautiful to be there. 

This thought, which I'd seen on a poster, came to me: 

Religion is sitting in church and thinking about kayaking. Spirituality is sitting in a kayak and thinking about God.

And if perchance, you are interested in my colored pencil art, all of my pictures are up on my Pinterest site. But please be kind, I’ve only been drawing and colouring for a month.

Next time:  The Time In Between by Maria DueƱas


  1. Linda, thanks for the mention, and even more important, thanks for the post that tells us it's never too late to try new things. Loved the comparison of religion and spirituality.

  2. What a lovely blog, Linda! Totally inspiring.

  3. I had to give up kayaking when my arthritic knees would no longer let me get in and out of our 12' Caspia. My hubby continued until last year when we finally gave it to our daughter. But I understand the lure of skimming the water. :)

    If there was an age limit on tackling new things, life would become very boring by my age...and I'd have given up long ago on trying to get my novels published. LOL.

  4. Kayaking is something I was always too scared to try, afraid I would get stuck under water. I suppose that doesn't happen with the open ones.
    Hey, just had a thought. Draw and colour some kayak pictures!

    1. We don't have 'sit on' kayaks. Ours you have to sit inside of. But II think it would be pretty impossible to get stuck inside of it - even if it tipped over - which it wouldn't. :) So far I haven't drawn any kayak pictures - but that IS a possibility.