I grew up in a town in Connecticut where tubing down rivers is popular. It’s people’s favorite activity in the summer time, especially when it reaches over 90 degrees outside. My dad did this back in the day before it was commercialized. I have never done it. I always wanted to, but I never felt I was “cool” enough or do it and I didn’t really get how to. Yesterday, I ended up trying it. I went with people I enjoyed and felt comfortable around.
I brought grapes and two beers. I lathered up in sunscreen. Put on my hat and sunglasses. I was ready to go. I was feeling confident. It was a perfect day for it. I was going with people who have gone multiple times. I was expecting two to four hours of tubing. Relaxing, lazy river, tubing. It was not quite like that. It ended up being around six hours of tubing down the river. It was not expected, and I was not prepared.
When I first went in the tube, water was freezing, but it felt good with the 90-degree weather surrounding me. My first 100 feet of tubing was “rapids.” As in rocks and fast flowing water. I was not prepared – got splashed – had no idea what I was doing. After that initial “shock” I felt pretty good – even when we went through other “rapids.” Did my butt hit rocks at times? Yes. Did I fall on a rock when I got out of the tube? Yes. Did I lose my hat for a little and my sunglasses for good? Yup. I still felt good. I was enjoying the sun and my friends.
After around four hours of this, I got caught on a rock. I was hungry. I was burnt. I was not expecting it to be this long. I was done, but we had SO MUCH further to go. I did it. I was grumpy but laughing too. I was glad when we were done. I felt bad that I complained and wasn’t a fan of the last bit. It is what it is though.
Recap of this experience: I never tubed down the river before because I never felt good enough. I went tubing for the first time down the river the other day with people I felt comfortable with. I had a good four hours, and then I was done and grumpy.
Lessons: I can tube if I want. It was a long day. I wish I knew it was going to be an obnoxiously long day on the tubes. I wish I brought more snacks than I did. I should have reapplied sunscreen. Did I have a good Sunday? I think so. Did my friends get mad at me for getting hangry and grumpy? Possibly. Were they still my friends after? I like to think so. I wish the person planned the trip told me how long it would be so I could be prepared. Positive thinking is hard to maintain at times.
My point is, I was feeling positive before and during some of the experience. My positive attitude did not stay throughout the tubing trip. I was low on energy, and I couldn’t maintain it. After the trip had been done, I didn’t hold a grudge or walk around grumpy for the rest of the day. I drank water and ate some dinner. I got my positive energy and continued along having fun with friends.
It’s hard to stay positive and happy all the time, even if you aren’t dealing with anxiety and depression. People always say “just have a positive attitude.” It can help, in small increments, but it’s not a cure. Being grumpy is okay. Wanting to be done with things is okay. I didn’t just get out of my tube and quit, though the thought crossed my mind at times. I finished it – in all my grumpy glory. But then it was done. I moved along and noted my lessons for the next time I go tubing. The main ones being: bring a lot of food and drinks and don’t go more than four hours. That’s what works for me. Now I know myself a tiny bit more. That’s the good thing about new experiences. You can learn then move on. Try your best. Go in with a positive attitude – feel free to change it if things are awful. Mark your lessons. Anxiety didn’t stop me from trying, and it won’t stop be from doing it again.