July 7, 2008

Rules Not To Live By

I am with my wife on the first day of a three week motorhome trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. It started out as it usually does - with a dead battery. But I had my handy dandy portable generator and I was able to jump start it. Motorhomes and dead batteries go hand in hand, so I was prepared. In the past this could easily have destroyed my day, but this time the self flagellation lasted only fifteen minutes.

The goal today was to cross the border at Calais, Maine, and spend the night in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. We didn’t make it. I pooped out early and we fell about 60 miles short. We landed at a campground on Pleasant Lake in Alexaner, Maine.

It was a hot day so the lake was a bonus. I am always a bit skeptical about the water temperature in a New England lake. I asked the lady in the office if the water was warm. She said, “It’s so,so – refreshing.” That always means freezing.

I have not been in cold water for quite some time. The ocean is ridiculous and off limits to me. Sometimes I turn down my hot tub to 98 degrees and that feels pretty cool. Here’s the problem with cold water: it hurts. I hate to be cold. I work very hard to control my body temperature. I was the first one with the layered look. I learned early that I could use the layers to always be at the optimum temperature. Swimming in cold water is against my rules.

Today I broke my rule and went swimming in cold water. It hurt for awhile. I survived. In fact I felt “refreshed.” Who would have guessed?

I dove into the lake because I am a new guy. Just why and how I am new is a story for another day.

Today felt like a good day to start breaking my rules. I have a lot of them. They all involve control. I like to control everything and everyone around me. It makes me feel safe. I am no longer willing to pay the price of safety.

I was so excited about breaking a rule that I went and broke another one. After swimming I sat on the ground on my towel. I never sit on the ground. It hurts. I like chairs. But today I sat on the ground, watched my wife swim and enjoyed the breeze.

So today I broke two of my Rules to Live By. Two down and 8,464 to go. However, I have the feeling that if I dive a little deeper I may find a few more. It should be fun, but perhaps cold. Today cold is okay. I'll see what tomorrow brings.

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