Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Live to Paddle or Paddle to Live?
Ever since I walked into an outdoor shop in 1997 and impulsively bought a sea kayak, I've been hooked. Paddling this boat to Igloolik in Canada's north a year later solidified the link between me and my kayak. One might say I now "paddle to live". It has become a large part of my life and gives me tremendous satisfaction when I'm out there on the water. It's changed who I am, by changing what I do.
Yet, I know there is more. I could be 'living to paddle'. What's the difference, you might ask? Well, for me, 'paddling to live' means that paddling is an addition to all the other things I like to do. It's a big addition, but my life is not driven by having to paddle. I count the costs carefully when deciding whether to paddle or do something else, especially with family or friends.
'Living to paddle', on the other hand, is to let paddling drive your life completely. It means you are prepared to do anything to satisfy your urge to paddle no matter what the costs to your home life or the needs of others. It's an extension of Ayn Rand's philosophy where you are the center of the universe, where you must live for yourself, or your life will be wasted. Worrying about others is a useless activity for which you'll get no thanks or satisfaction. After all, they should be worrying about themselves like you do. Don't tell others what to do, it is self-defeating and won't really help them...
I will do almost anything to get out paddling when I get the urge to go, but it isn't the first thing in my life. I try to steer clear of Ayn Rand style 'live to paddle' kayakers. I get chills wondering what they will do when the going gets rough. Can I depend on their help? Or am I on my own?