List Nine: Ten Things I Learned Kite Flying
Whew... list number nine in the ten lists of ten things. Almost done. Seems fitting that I should create a list of ten things that I have learned, or expanded my learning on, thanks to kite flying. So here it is.
1. It is harder to rise than it is to fall - Think about it.... It is time to accept failures as part of the whole process. Accept that falling down out of the sky is easy, it takes work to get the kite back up.
2. Love, Friendship, Family; they can all come from a shared experience and last a lifetime - Some of the greatest relationships I have had, and continue to have, come from kite flying. Mentors, friends, family, and even love, they were all found on a kite field. Most of these people I see MAYBE 1-4 times a year. But the moment we do, it is filled with hugs, laughter, and happiness that is more pure than I have experienced anywhere else. This isn't unique to me, I see it in Paul and his decades in the kite world. I see it from those that I consider my mentors. I see the web stretching out across continents and time, and tethering us all together, and it is amazing.
I am truly blessed that I found my community. Even more so that I found someone to share it with.
3. It is all my choice. I choose the kite, the string, and when I go out and fly. So much you can take from that and bring back to your life. Side note: it isn't all about the 'newest/best' equipment. While the equipment can help make a good pilot a little bit better, it is not the equipment that makes a flier great.
4. Patience - Pretty self explanatory. I have learned to be more patient when it comes to weather, learning, expectations of flying, etc...
5. There are some activities and experiences that transcend language - Kite flying is the one activity that I have found to exist in every culture (aside from cooking) in some way shape or form.
6. Everyone is a nerd about something, some are really nerdy - Just when you think you are super enthusiastic about your hobby.... you find someone that is even more enthusiastic about it than you. There is something in each persons life that they are rather focused on, and.. well that is cool. Let them explain or share their passion with you. Get your nerd on!
7. You are going to be told 'No' or made fun of in more ways than you can count - Haha... so... I don't think kite flying is weird. I don't think it is odd to fly indoors. I don't think it is a childish pursuit.
Then I talk with an event organizer or someone outside of the community of kite enthusiasts, and often they say NO to the idea of having an indoor kite performance.
"We can't supply fans" they say.
"There are no fans, it is super light weight material, and it is more like a dance" I reply
"No... i just don't see it happening, someone might get hurt".
No? Someone might get hurt??? Sigh, it can feel rather disheartening to hear this because it is RIFE with misunderstandings. (ps. I have yet to see anyone be hurt) But, I have learned that it means I need to re-frame how I present this thing that I love. I need to accept the NO's as a challenge to be a better advocate for my hobby. I need to take the rejection, or the side comments about 'Isn't that a kids toy', as inspiration on how to make this thing more accessible.
8. No matter how good you are, there is always someone better than you. So what. - That shouldn't stop you from being the best you that you can be. I think of a story that Paul likes to tell when it comes to competition. In the beginning of his competition years he was very focused on beating the top fliers on the circuit. He thought about what it would take to beat them, saw them as the competition to him winning; and he kept coming in behind them on the podium. Then one day.... he changed his perspective. 'The only real competition out there was himself.' That day, he won, and continued to win. He stopped focusing on how good other people were, how they were 'better than him', and instead focused on himself.
9. Kites can have a damaging effect on wildlife - I debated placing this one on here because it can be somewhat controversial. But I do remember when I first heard about beach closures to kite flying because of the potential effects on migratory bird populations. It made me stop and reflect on the hobby that before that moment, I had perhaps perceived as having no to little impact. In some ways it influences how I pursue this passion. Not sure that a certain set of rules can be created that would eliminate any actual or perceived impact. It is still something that I am working on.
10. No matter where you go, there are cliques and groups, and subcliques and sub-sub cliques. - Don't pretend like any thing that you are interested in doesn't have groups or cliques. It is human nature for us to group together with like minded individuals. Just don't be a douche bag about it.
Alright, tomorrow I drop the last list of this series. Returning to our regularly scheduled programming, and preparing for a trip to Windless Indoor Kite Festival in Long Beach, Washington and the South Padre Island Kite Festival in Texas. Hope you have enjoyed these. :)