As I climb out of bed at the break of dawn I yet again think about how incredibly rich my life is. If I had never said yes to join a roll practise in the small pool in Sjoa at age 16, I would not be sipping coffee in my cabin Soria Moria, overlooking the magical waters of rio Futaleufu, Chile. But as it is, I do not believe in coincidences. Not at all.
I believe strongly that we shape our own world. The real challenge of life lies within recognizing the chances when they come along –to grab them and go with them. Of course, in a parallell universe I might have been sipping my coffee on my own pacific island, or I could have simply just stayed in Otta where I grew up, content at watching kayakers and rafters float through our little community on their way to the rivers of the region. Notthing wrong with that, and sometimes I envy the friends I have that managed to find their peace in our home town.
But I am still happy I accepted the invitation to learn to roll a kayak back in 1996.
But honestly, what makes me perhaps the most annoyed in the whole world is when somebody tells me (and many like to do, especially before they know me) how lucky I am. To have what I have, to have done what I have done, to have seen what I have seen. No – I am not lucky. I made my life happen by myself, it did not not just occur by some magical whim of fate.
But I do admit that I am lucky being born Norwegian, having had the privilege of growing up in a safe country with all the possibilities of the world just laid before my feet. If there is something I try to tell my students, this is it. Instead of demanding that the government should pay the students more (!) money to get an education in form of higher scholarships, we should appreciate the immense opportunity we are getting as Norwegians and work harder, and strive for becoming our best. My nine-year university degree was all free, and it secures my off-the-water-life – I can always find a job as a lecturer or teacher. For this I am very grateful.
But again, I had to work for it. I carried university books with me around the world for 9 years, and always found time and place to study while on the road. That takes a good portion of stubborness and determination, pluss some nice friends that from time to time helped me carrying those books around! And no, I did not just magically get a cabin on the shore of one of the most beautiful rivers in the world – I worked hard to get the money for it, then I worked even harder at negotiating the deal with the local farmer, learning the language and finding somebody to help me build it. If I had listened to just one of the dozens of people that told I was crazy, and perhaps even stupid, I would have never sipped my coffee by the fire, and writing this blog. Again – luck had notthing to do with it.
So – I also got this place in northern Norway.. a coincidence? Nope, I used the money I earned at the Octoberfest one year and bought it. 14 hours shifts for 16 days, carrying beer to thirty people, paid for this view. I like that.
If anything is entirely clear to me it is that we are responsible for our own lives. If you do not like where you are or what you are – change it. There are probably a million reasons why you haven´t done it yet, but pardon me – they are all excuses. In the end it is only you that can go about and change your life. It is your responsiblity. Do not look at others thinking they are lucky to have the life they are living – my bet is that they did something for getting what they have – even if it only means recognizing chances and taking them when life puts them in our path.
Now it is time for me to get on the water – see you out there!