Prep has started for this trip. Truly it began in January when I was pouring over data, maps and trip reports. The old adage goes: It'll be here before you know it!
Now that time is speeding by towards August 10th the gathering of gear/food/supplies has started. I'm an organizing nerd, I love preparation nearly more than the journey.
I've been training to get ready with long paddles down the river 50 km. Last week when I attempted to finish a long training paddle, I just didn't have it. I got off the river at 23 km and had a nap after; I was truly spent after a busy week. Pushing through just to put time in isn't quality training. Recovery and repair are just as important as training. A massage later in the week as well I've started doing daily short yoga poses again to try to calm the mind and open the body.
Our small town has been rocked by tragedy, the suicide of a young man and the universe keeps reminding me that this paddle is so much bigger than myself on a board.
His mom donated last week to my paddle and had planned to join near the end. It's unfathomable that she would be dealing with this now; but here we are. Lost, sad, confused, hurting, floating. Our whole community is grieving.
Along with the loss of my cousins son a couple of months ago, the mental health crisis happening all around are us is exponential and not showing signs of slowing.
Be aware, those who are struggling the most are the best at disguising it. They are so good at masking what is going on. Sometimes, even if we know someone is not alright there's not always an answer to the problem that will resolve it.
There's no one shoe fits all solution to the crises we're facing. No one word that can fix it, no right medication, no therapy that's perfect, nor is there enough supportive family and friend structure in the world prevent it. Sometimes the pain is just too much to bear anymore.
The guilt and shame in those left behind is overwhelming as we just think if only we coulda, shoulda, woulda maybe that might have been the difference. I've had conversations with people who've experienced these thoughts. Some of them have shared that what others say doesn't change their decision.
Obviously each situation is different. To paint one tragedy with the same brush as all the others isn't fair. I do not profess to be versed or educated in any of this. This is just real life conversations and experiences I've personally had with others struggling.
Any self doubt I've had about this paddle has dissolved, honestly this is just a paddle down a river, with an end point and with so much support from many. A journey I'm choosing to take, not everyone gets that same choice on what journey they get to go on.
Outside of fundraising, as I've reiterated before I hope this paddle brings to light some of the darkness people are going through. Spurs conversations and removes the stigma behind mental health.
Life continues to throw at us what it may, along with all the emotions and experiences that come with it. We never grow inside our comfort zone, change happens outside of it. Sometimes we choose to leave the comfort zone and sometimes we're shoved out of it. Both are of value as we evolve from these experiences.
Thank you for all the support and reaching out to connect!