Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Revisiting the Dream

It's been two years since I first dreamed of learning to sail, and then sailing Wild Betty down the Tom Bigby Waterway. I was diagnosed with diabetes, stayed sick and unhealthy, and just couldn't afford the boat I want and need to start this trip. But now I'm back. I'm healthy, have lost 100 pounds (65 of them since I started thinking about doing this) and I'm seriously thinking I can make it happen. It may be on a houseboat, but I'd love to do it on a sailboat. I'm just being practical here. It's a lot harder to fall off of a houseboat, and a lot more practical.

Wild Betty always intended to do the trip on a houseboat - where she could move around, sleep, and essentially "play house" with her boyfriend. I understand now why a houseboat was so appealing. I'm weighing the navigation skills I'd need with a sailboat over that of a houseboat. 

Monday, July 18, 2016

Feeling Overwhelmed

It wasn't until I got home from Sailing classes that I realized the turtleneck I wore all week was one of my mothers. I wish I'd thought about it, made a conscious decision to wear it, but I didn't. It was just in the laundry and I grabbed it because it was convenient.

That's what so much of life is really — convenience, not thought out, not considered. There's really just no time. That's my excuse. When I started looking at all I had to do to make this happen I realized, "I don't have the time."  And that scared me. It's how regrets are born.

This week I've gotten dozens of emails, from friends, clients, strangers. All of them want something, none of them want to pay me for it. And I feel guilty?! What's that about? There's a woman in Africa I send money to when I have it. She buys chickens and livestock and food. Her church needs a roof. It will cost $6,000. I've been there, photographed the church, seen the roof and am amazed that's all it will cost. I promised to try to help her, but I don't have the time. I'm working on a proposal for a client who already has two best-selling books, but doesn't want to pay in advance for a proposal. I'm writing on spec because I believe in the project, but I'm a fool for doing it because that means more bills, no income.

The people who want to see this project happen are insistent and pushy, and I finally said no to them all. I am not an ATM. I do not have the money to buy a boat, insurance, equipment and pay my bills. I am feeling resentment and anger. This is not what I wanted this to be about.

I am having my own regrets - regrets at having told anyone about my dream, regrets at not saying no to the never ending stream of takers, users and losers that funnel towards me like ants to spilled sugar.

Maybe this whole project is about pointing a finger (the middle one) at everyone and just leaving. I want to scream "NO!" to everyone. Maybe that is why we have regrets. We can't say no to life and yes to us.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Cast Off The Naysayers!

One of the most disturbing things I'm encountering on this adventure is people who are jealous, critical, uninformed and toxic. They don't come right out and say, "This is crazy." They dig and drip and make offhand comments like, "Are you sure you can afford to do that?" or "Shouldn't you be spending your money on your retirement?" These are not caring comments. They may think they are, but the truth is, it is NO ONE'S BUSINESS how I spend my money, the money I earned, or the money I've raised. As one of the women in my sailing class kept repeating when people tried to tell her how to do something, "You don't pay my cell phone bill."

People who claim to be "well meaning" or "caring" can be the biggest dream killers of all. They are usually retired, living off a spouse's money, or have no life of their own. They are afraid to risk, to take on achieving their own dreams, so they destroy the dreams of others. They may not consciously intend to, but that's what happens. Ignore them. If they don't get the picture, confront them. If they still don't get it then file a restraining order if you have to - but GET THEM OUT OF YOUR LIFE.

Ways to tell someone is toxic:
  • You feel slime'd after being with them, like you need a shower to wash off their energy.
  • They drain your energy. 
  • You feel anxious or apprehensive when you see a text, email or Facebook post from them.
  • They bring nothing to the table. They don't encourage or support you. They merely express doubt about everything you do. 
  • They gossip to others about you - making sure everyone knows THEY don't think you do whatever it is you are wanting or planning to do. 
Toxic people will destroy your dreams before you even realize they've undermined your foundation. Be vigilant and pay attention to your emotions. Take action the instant you realize a toxic person is dripping their acid on your dreams.

Set strong boundaries and enforce them. Don't worry about hurting their feelings. They sure aren't worried about your feelings, so why should you care about theirs. Their primary goal is to drag you down into their misery. Don't let them.

Graduated from Sailing School

The first day of sailing school was rainy, cold and the rain was horizontal to 45 degrees most of the day. My $30 Walmart rain gear kept me dry, but not warm. I layered and was fine until my hands and feet got cold. Then misery set in. Day two was rainy, but not as windy or cold. Day three was overcast, but warm enough to take off the foulie (foul weather gear) jacket. There was some sun. The last day (above) was sunny and warm and wonderful. I fell in love.

At first I thought I was too old, too slow, too cold and too weak to do this. I seriously contemplated giving up on my dream - for about five minutes. Then I kicked myself in the ass and got back to doing what I was doing - learning to sail. I passed my written test - 99 out of 100, and if I hadn't rushed the last question I'd have had a perfect score. Live and learn. Rushing was a small regret. But one that keeps popping up. I need to stop rushing things - including this adventure.

Remember, I have a boat to buy, insurance, a dock slip where I can at least sail, if not live aboard. I have repairs, more lessons, more school....it's daunting. I also have a new magazine I'm launching (with no money, only a conviction that it will succeed). And I'm paying bills....

Life, I tell myself, shouldn't be so hard. Then I think, "Why not?" Part of my mother's list of regrets goes back to dreaming, not planning. I see myself in her. I have the dreaming down pat - it's the planning that needs work.

Regrets are things we didn't do, rarely things we did do, although I have plenty of both.
"I wish I had, I should'a, could'a, would'a" are all mantras of those who go to our graves wishing we had acted on our dreams. In the days before sailing school, as excited as I was, I wondered if I was doing the best thing, the right thing. I doubted myself, felt a lot of fear, but did it anyway. Apparently that is the template for my life. Decide to do something, become terrified about doing it, then do it anyway. From going to Africa (Uganda) twice in one year, to sailing school, to imagining I'm going to be navigating this 400 mile stretch of river never having sailed before this summer...it's all fear based at first. But, I know from years, decades of this pattern, that once I step off of the cliff, I fly. I go from scared to exhilerated in seconds. It is the moment of stepping into space not knowing what will happen, that transforms us.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Do it Now

"If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever." 
~ Thomas Aquinas

I think the pneumonia is, for the most part, gone. I'm not 100%, but feeling better. That's another reason I'm so committed to doing this. None of us knows when something like pneumonia, or cancer, or an accident will happen and shut down our future. Whatever it is you want to do, do it now.

Saturday, April 9, 2016


"Twenty years from now you'll be more disappointed in the things you DIDN'T DO rather than in the things you DID."

One of the most painful parts of this journey has been coming to terms with the regrets I have for my own life/journey. And, like the quote says, my regrets are for NOT doing the things I'm thinking about doing now. I wish I had learned to sail 30 years ago when I had the chance. I wish I had learned to manage money better. I wish I'd thought about what I wanted in life rather than just crashing blindly through one thing after another. I had a great life, but it might have been a lot better if I'd been more focused and organized. I might have been better prepared to take on this challenge.

That's not to say I'm sitting around throwing a pity party for one. I'm not. I've hired people to teach me what I want to know. I'm learning the things I put off and I'm acting on things NOW. It's never too late to do most of what you want to do. The longer you put it off, the harder it gets. This journey is about regrets - and about making sure you THINK about what the regrets in your life are so you can take action now. Regrets are so uniquely painful....don't die with regrets. Just don't.

Friday, April 8, 2016

What's it Gonna Cost?

I subscribe to The Real Wayne's World Youtube channel. Wayne talks about how to find good cheap boats, what things cost, and how to make things like MY journey affordable. He's talking about the cost of buying a boat, insuring it, putting it in a slip, seasonal costs, cost of maintaining it and so on. Worth watching!

I'll be posting videos here myself as soon as I buy my video camera. I DID buy a GoPro4 Black, but need the editing software, audio input and some other stuff...plus I need to LEARN to use the darn thing. You need a freaking magnifying glass to read the tiny, tiny, tiny screen and with my old eyes, it's been a challenge. But, enjoy Wayne....