“I wish everyone who knew me could know the sailing me!”
I posted this on Facebook today. It was one of those thoughts that popped into my head ready to publish, and didn’t require a lot of fact checking. As the day passed though, I found myself coming back to that thought. What makes the sailing me noteworthy, why do I prefer it to the geeky me, or the business me, or the city slicker me?
I think in large part sailing has brought me perspective. I lose that perspective if I spend too much time in the city, or at my job, or anywhere where a lot of people agree that certain things are important. I’m lucky that my job reinforces that saving the planet is important, I can get behind that, but it’s still not exactly the perspective that I get from sailing.
Sailing, for me, is:
…about family time. I see my kids when I’m sailing. I don’t mean that I don’t get to see them enough during the work week, I mean that, when I’m sailing, I. see. them. I see how incredibly witty and coy Miles is, and how clever and musical Ruby is. I realize that I’ve told Ruby to stop singing, and Miles to stop clowning about a dozen times, but really they are just doing what they are best at, and it’s awesome!
…about getting to know people. There are these two guys that I say hi to at least twice a day. They are friendly and look out for us and our kids, but I don’t really ever get to chat because I’m busy coming or going. Today, they are anchored a few boats away. We stopped by in the sailing dinghy on the way to play in the surf, and chatted… for the first time! Later, they helped us out when the dinghy tires needed air. I love that about this lifestyle, there are no excuses not to get to know your neighbors.
…about taking things slowly. Really slowly. Today’s schedule was: Make coffee; Eat breakfast; Sail Fatty; Clean Fatty; Halyard Jump & Swim; Walk on the Beach; Eat Dinner. That’s it. It took all day, partially because sailing fatty in 3 knots of wind is a time consuming prospect, but it was good!
…about not having much, but loving and leaning on the things I have. I love our boat. I love my computer. I love my camera. I love my uke and my guitar. I don’t have a lot of stuff, but I know WHY I have it all, and I never feel like it owns me (any more). When I lived in a giant house and had a ton of stuff (multiples of some) I always felt conflicted; “should I be playing my guitar instead of watching a movie on the home theater?” Now my stuff enables me, and I use it hard.
…about competence and immediacy. When I’m sailing, I know just what requires my attention at any time and I generally know how to handle it. Whether it is a refrigerator not refrigerating, or a squall on the horizon, or a kid with a nasty cut. The things that matter are clear and obvious, and the best course of action is, similarly, obvious. In our modern world, so few people ever get to experience this clarity, nor the feeling of competence that comes with really feeling like you are up to any challenge that life might throw at you.
Time to Sail Away?
Vick joked that she bought enough provisions for a weekend on Moreton Island or crossing the Indian Ocean. I won’t lie and say that a 24 day passage didn’t really sound appealing, it did. But I’m not done here. I love how Ruby’s ‘no’ and ‘home’ use all of the vowels (“Noaeiu”) and I want both kids to feel a little bit Australian before we leave (They sang We Are All Australian this morning, and it nearly made me cry). Vick and I have some deeper roots to sink here as well, and some money to save (any day now). But I do think that every trip out of the river breathes a little life back into me and reminds me where my values lie. Sailing is like coming home to me, coming home to myself.