Overcoming fears

I was blessed to be brought up in a wonderful, happy home with two loving parents who provided everything my sister, brother, and I needed. We still lived on a limited budget and had to help out around the house to earn our $10 a week allowance, but we were very comfortable.

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While it was a wonderful way to be raised, I wasn't exactly subjected to the daring side of life. Western Nebraska isn't known for its lakes or water sports, so I've always had a weariness- okay, I'll just be honest- a fear of water. I've never been big on amusement park rides, either. I'm fine with heights, I just hate that free-falling feeling.

The hard part of being raised in a somewhat "sheltered" life is that I've been lucky enough, or maybe unlucky enough, to meet some adventure-seekers in my adult life. Being as stubborn as I am, I hate to be outdone, which has led me to do some things that surprise even me.

Recently, I was in Hawaii, obviously a great place for water adventures. I unwittingly found myself signed up for a day of water sports. Great. After a very sleepless night, I boarded the shuttle bus to the docks. And, of course, it was a stormy day, so the water was choppy.

After the scariest boat ride of my life, I was strapped into a harness and within seconds was more than 200 hundred feet parasailing above the boat. I think I shook the entire time I was up there, but it was a beautiful experience that I will always remember.

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Having boosted the daring side of my ego, I headed over to the jet-skis. That's just riding on top of the water, right? You're not actually in it, so I should be fine (I thought to myself). Well, I was fine until I underestimated the bigger-than-expected waves and rolled both myself and my jet-ski in one frightening moment.

At the time, I calmly came up to the surface, climbed back onto the jet-ski, and then high-tailed it back to the floating dock and got the heck out of the water!! I skipped the snorkeling portion of the day.

I did, however, gain back a bit of my nerve the next day and ventured about 10 feet into the ocean to try body-boarding on a $3 innertube. I think the picture says it all.

Next time I find myself faced with one of my fears, I'll probably still get horribly nervous, maybe lose some sleep beforehand, and try to get out of the situation. But, ultimately, I know I will go through with it and love the new experience and the great story that I get to tell afterwards!
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