Being that today marks one month since I start my raft guide training with Quest Expeditions, I found that this quote pertained to my real life situation at the moment.
“Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent.”
– Marilyn vos Savant
Our training started on March 31, 2012. I pulled up to the outpost with Robert (a guide for 7 years and good friend of mine). Myself and the other trainees sat there under the pavilion quite, like the first day of school. No one really knowing what to say or how to act. That awkward moment when everyone is silently observing their new environment, assessing it, feeling it out, thinking of how to behave. Quickly, the energy changed. Soon, everyone relaxed and started talking. Now, one month later we are a pretty tight bunch. A little brother/sisterhood of sorts. I will be depending on these people in certain situations to save my life and those that are in my boat and in return, I will gladly exchange the favor.
We started with 8 trainee’s. We are currently down to 6. I am the only one with no white water experience. Being that I am from Florida – this should not surprise anyone. Yes, I have taken the occasional white water rafting trip with my family and friends, but I knew nothing when it came to reading water, guiding a raft, steering a rafting loaded down with “the clumps,” and certainly nothing about what to do in life or death situations out there. However, I have received positive feedback. They say I’m a “fighter” and a “natural.” Their remarks give me confidence, but I have to remain humble and respectful on the water and in all of mother nature for that fact, for you never know when the elements may change. Staying aware of your surroundings is a great start.
I’ve had my share of swims in the frigid Ocoee water. Some serious, other not so much. Each time I mess up, lose my line in a swift current, or can’t seem to muster up the strength to hold my angle the a rapid I lose a little bit of confidence. Yes, a time or two the thought has entered my mind. “Maybe this just isn’t for me,” or “that scared that crap out of me and I’m really not ready to die.” I try to push those negative thoughts out of my head, encouraging more positive ones to flow back in. The water has defeated me a time or two, but I have also defeated it. Things are bound to happen out there, I just accept it and move on, not fixate on it. I will not give up, I will keep my defeats temporary and not permanent.