Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Yesterday, Pandabonium of Sweet Bluesette published a thoughtful and inspiring post on the subject of Winning. You should read it.
Panda sails the only Lido 14 (so far) in Japan with his wife. He doesn't sail to compete. He and his wife sail purely for fun, for the pleasure of each other's company, and to improve their sailing skills. They seem very content with the role of sailing in their lives and their approach to it.
In the post Panda talks about his attitudes to competition in his youth, and reminds us of an example from the Olympics of an athlete who won the hearts of people all over the world by demonstrating perseverance against adversity; a real "winner" even if he didn't come away with a medal.
I was touched by his post, but surprised at the end when he gave a shout-out for this blog and wrote of my "sensible attitude toward racing" and my knowing "what really makes his life worthwhile."
It doesn't feel like that from where I sit.
In contrast, I don't feel that I am very sensible at all about my approach to sailing and racing, and am always confused and conflicted about how to balance the things that make life worthwhile.
I swing back and forth from one extreme to another.
I tell myself I am one thing and act like I am another.
I write a blog about Laser sailing and about how I am trying to become a better Laser sailor and about my Laser racing.
But I am always being pulled away from Laser sailing by other enthusiasms, and often by my own laziness.
Some years I am very competitive and sail lots of regattas and even do some frostbite racing.
And other years I seem to have very little appetite for racing at all.
Some years I like to travel all over the world to race.
And other years it just seems like the rewards of that will not be worth the cost in money and effort and time.
Some times I enjoy sailing for the sheer pleasure of it, the enjoyment of solitude in wind and waves and water.
And other days I miss an opportunity to enjoy such a sailing experience because I convince myself it's too cold or too hot, or too windy or not windy enough.
I enjoy the company of other sailors both on the water and afterwards over a beer or two.
But sometimes I pass up on opportunities to meet up with friends for sailing. Last weekend was a perfect example. I could have had a fun sail on Friday with friends on Buzzards Bay but I went for a long run in the heat instead and was too tired to do anything else for the rest of the day. Then on Saturday I could have gone racing with the same friends, but I stayed at home and played with my grandkids instead.
The truth is I am not as committed to sailing as I would need to be if I really wanted to improve my racing skills significantly.
The truth is that there are other things in life, like family and running and gardening and just relaxing, that often get in the way of sailing.
Bottom line: I'm a mess.
On the other hand...
Everyone has to balance the demands for their time. Work, family, recreation, exercise, travel, relaxation. I have it better than most. I don't have to do the first thing on that list any more. And I have four amazing, fascinating little people in my life, Isabel, Owen, Aidan and Emily, my grandkids.
One of the first posts on this blog was called Focus.
Perhaps it has taken me eight years of blogging to realize that the secret of a happy life might be more about balance than focus?
Maybe that's what Panda was trying to tell me?