One of my goals this summer is to make space for things I’ve been wanting to do for a while, those fun “back burner” aspirations. So, when a friend suggested my husband and I take sailing classes with him, we said, “Sure!” It’s one of those things that’s been on the backburner list for ages. What a fun, carefree, summery thing to do.
 
Except….after our first classroom session, I was ready to call it quits. Knots and wind direction and buoys and tide charts (all presented in the dryest possible way)–this was not how I imagined spending my free time. I was cross-eyed with boredom.
 
I wanted to wear gold J. Crew boat shoes and striped shirts and effortlessly slice through a calm sea while sipping on a mai tai. I wanted all of the charts and tables and diagrams to enter my brain through osmosis. I wanted sailing to be easy.
 
Well, I thought, maybe when we get out on the water, things will look a little brighter. I donned my striped shirt and sunglasses and headed over to the dock to find our instructor kitted out in a waterproof suit, rain boots and a warm hat.
 
Strike two against sailing.
 
Then it started to pour.
 
Strike three.
 
Needless to say, sailing wasn’t as effortless as I hoped it would be. All through June, it rained as I struggled with my reef knots and bowlines and double sheet bends.
 
I didn’t jump out of bed on sailing day, excited to get out on the water. But little by little, parts of sailing grew on me. You didn’t really need to know every bit of terminology to intuitively sense wind direction and steer your way to a close reach. I didn’t even know what “close reach” meant the first time I did it. I watched the tiny red string as it bounced and blew in the wind, my hand instinctively guiding the tiller to the right while I croaked “Helms Alee?”
 
I was good at docking. I loved the smell of the sea. And gradually, a feeling of competence overtook my frustration.
 
As I’ve been learning in so many aspects of life, the easiest things aren’t always the most rewarding. A bit of grit and stick-to-itiveness can reap big rewards.
 
And so it went with sailing.
 
Twenty hours of on-the-water training and a three hour exam later, I’m officially a sailor. And, as we bid notoriously rainy June goodbye, the July sunshine brought with it that earlier dream of gorgeous, carefree days on the water. Turns out you really can wear stripes and sunglasses.
 
Maybe I’ll order those gold boat shoes after all.
 
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Rian Sail
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Grant Sail
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Are there any hobbies on your backburner, things you’d like to try your hand at this summer?
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