Sunday, September 13, 2009

Charting My Own Course

Yesterday, a twenty-year college kid came over to give my son a sailing lesson. I grew up on the beaches of LA but never learned to sail. I love the sea and feel the most at home when I am close to it. Yesterday, I was able to watch my son learn to jibe and tack his way around the lagoon we live on. He learned to maneuver the sailboat gracefully across the sea. What fun!

When they got off the water I exclaimed that I would love to learn to sail. His kind teacher said it was never too late to learn. I thought to myself, “Is it too late for me to learn?” Somehow I felt that it was.

I have suffered with a bad back for years. When I watched them rig the boat I knew that the movements would kill my spine. And then there is getting the boat from the dock into and out of the water. No way that this old sea hag could manage that. I would comfortably sit on my dock and enjoy my son as he learns how to use the winds to propel him around his lagoon. What peace.


My young son has a leg problem that makes my bad back look like a picnic yet I expect him to overcome his obstacles.

Why am I too afraid to learn something new? Is it fear that holds me back? Or is it lack of true desire? I have become passive.

The idea of that terrifies me. I have never been passive before. Why now? Is it easier to let my husband and young son sail me around? Why do I have the energy to set up sailing lessons for my son but I refuse to jump onboard?

There is a little, but very loud voice inside my head that screams, “WHAT FOR?”

So, I learn to sail. Do I really have the desire to memorize all the sailing terminology, then learn and practice the basics of sailing?

When did I get so lazy?

I’m sure my husband would help me rig the boat and even get it into the water for me. He would applaud my learning to sail. But I would never be good enough to compete so what’s the point.

The point is I love the water and would love to careen around the lagoon with the sea salt in my hair and sea breezes in my nostrils.

So what is holding me back?

Here is the truth…I am afraid that learning will be too hard and that I will be a failure at yet another thing in my life.

I have had a great career. I am raising great kids; I have a wonderful, successful marriage. Why do I feel like such a failure?

Is my worth measured only in the work place? Since I don’t bring home money now I really don’t count? Is this my ultimate failure? I am sure I am not alone in feeling like this. And like Glenn Close in “Fatal Attraction”, “I refuse to be ignored!”

I will put on my old, worn t-shirt, some sun block with a hat and chart my course. Thank you twenty-year-old sailor with the wisdom of the old man and the sea. It is indeed never too late to learn.

When I die I want my ashes thrown out to sea. I should relish the time I have to navigate the waters before they become my final resting place.


  1. Very insightful. Why do we sit spectating life as if we are not entitled to participate?

  2. love this entry. hits a bit close to home. I get afraid of getting wet and I'm the one who loves to swim!