During a recent public holiday here in Singapore, I had the opportunity to go wakeboarding with small group of friends at the Marina Country Club. Wakeboarding is something I’ve always wanted to try, and I was thrilled that I got to do so on a particularly warm and inviting day.
Our Edge Wakeboarding instructor Melanie gave some great tips to all the first-timers. Relax and let the boat pull you up. Stand up straight. Ride directly into the wake rather than trying to jump over it.
Luckily, I was able to catch on rather quickly and was towed around the water three times before my legs felt too rubbery to withstand another run. The ride itself was everything I thought it would be: a little awkward at first, exhilarating for the mind and tiring for the body. I snowboard and am familiar with the feeling of having my two feet strapped to a board, but gliding across the water is a different sensation altogether. An afternoon out on the water left me sun-kissed and exhausted, but also thrilled that I had found an activity I genuinely enjoyed and could see myself pursuing.
When I later reflected on everything I had learned during the day, I was struck by a corny realization: wakeboarding is a metaphor for life and for working abroad. Deep, right? In truth, Melanie’s instructions were almost comically representative of some common, practical life advice.
1. “Relax your arms. Let the boat pull you up.”
Don’t force things. Sometimes, things are meant to happen organically. The more you try to fit a square peg into a round hole, the more your efforts will backfire. Go with the flow and let what will be, be.
2. “Keep your chest up and your back straight."
It’s important to have a strong backbone and support system. Don’t bend at the will of others, and defend your beliefs when the situation calls for it. Know whom to call when you could use a dose of motivation or encouragement. We should all have people we can lean on in times of need.
3. “Don’t jump over the wake. Ride straight into it.”
Rather than sidestepping a problem, you should confront it head-on. Find a solution, a compromise, or some other way to bring closure to an issue. Avoidance tactics seldom bring peace of mind.
And last but not least, life is a ride, so hold on tight.