Every day should, indeed, be a "school day". The process of learning is one of life's richest and most meaningful activities. My dad, whose personality was always an enigmatic amalgam of the outdoors, mathematics, and philosophy, often advised his young son that "comfort" was not something to embrace in life. (He always said it rather emphatically.) That particular piece of fatherly advice made no sense to me at all! Surely comfort, after all, is a reasonable condition? Why would one strive to be uncomfortable? What he was getting at, however, was that seeking and embracing comfort can sometimes be an "end" state...namely, the end of growth and development.
My dad's advice did, eventually, begin to make some sense as I grew older. Having all the "answers", for example, clearly brings a sense of comfort to some, but it means that questions are no longer being asked. The door subsequently closes, firmly shut, to the process of learning and growing. How much more satisfying and enriching it is to "live the questions". Being satisfied with the status quo (in any context) may seem to be a comfortable niche...but that niche can become a stifling and claustrophobic place to be. When every day's a "school day", the process of discovery and exploration is set free. Life remains fresh and vibrant and stimulating. It becomes an "adventure" in the truest sense.
To be quite honest, we'd become comfortable with our paddling skills over the years. Why push the "envelope" any further? As a consequence, time in the cockpit had begun to lose a little of its sparkle and its thrill. It just didn't seem quite the same as it used to be when we were learning and growing (and, admittedly, sometimes scaring ourselves).
It was time to take serious steps - or at least paddle strokes.
Tomorrow, we leave for the Isle of Skye, in the Inner Hebrides, to spend three days with Gordon Brown, arguably, the most renown instructor and coach in the world of sea kayaking. The goal: to escape the "comfort" of the status quo - and safely open wider the doors to new paddling possibilities and opportunities.
It is clear that the coming days will be challenging. The process of learning new skills is guaranteed to be (very) humbling at times. There will, undoubtedly, be some good laughs!
Despite it all, we'll get there - right side up! ;)