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Laughing to Yelling: Lessons from Falling In

This weekend we took a spontaneous trip to Glen Arbor Michigan, just around the bay from Traverse City for some last weekend outdoor fun.

I was super excited when we decided on taking a canoe trip down the scenic Platt River. Excited because I love relaxing in water, my little Anthony loves being out in nature and Bill loves to get any opportunity he can to cast a fishing line.

As you can see from the photo below we were having a great time until…

The current picked up speed and we were headed for a massive tree that had gone down.

All I could hear was –


. . Dig the oar into the water so we would avoid the tree ahead.

And then it happened –

Yes – the entire canoe tipped over and we went plummeting into the cold waters of the Platt.

That playful fun moment in the canoe turned into mayhem as my 11 year old son went drifting down the stream along with all of our belongings from Bill’s fishing rods to the cooler of cold brews to the little seats and life preserve pads. We went from laughing to yelling at each other as we tried to get Anthony and then empty out the water filled canoe. Once we realized we were standing in only two and a half feet of water, we looked at each other and started laughing again.

Yes folks, sometimes things don’t go as planned – and guess what?


It’s another opportunity to learn.

In this case, we learned how ridiculous arguing in the middle of the river was not solving the problem at hand. And having a yelling match that no-one could win was just a giant time suck.

Once we realized this we were able to laugh at our stupidity and move on.

Has anything you’ve planned not gone exactly the way you envisioned? How did you react? Did you stay stuck in the blame game or hold judgement against someone? How did that serve you to not let go?

Here’s what I learned and found to be helpful:

1. Tell yourself – IT’S OK.

2. Find the lesson.

3. Keep moving.

Staying stuck in emotion that doesn’t bring out the best in you, does nothing to get you to where you want to go. As the saying goes –

It’s not what happens but how we respond that makes the difference in our experience….

Because life doesn’t always go as planned – not even on a little canoe trip down a shallow river.

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