Earlier this summer, during the month of June, I fulfilled a desire that had been nurtured for a couple of years.
Safely tucked away under our family cottage was a Laser – a 1 person sailboat. I wanted to be out on the water and enjoy the experience of sailing. We already had the sailboat, I just had to learn how to sail.
So, this year it was time to act on my desire. I sent in my registration, attended the classes, and learned as much as I could during the course both in class (theory) and on the water (practical). Even though I passed the course, I really did not yet know how to sail. If I did nothing more, those skills would soon be forgotten.
During my week long vacation at our family cottage, I have been spending as much time as I could out on the water. Everyday, and several times a day, I would go out and keep practicing the basic skills I had been taught. Through repeating the basic skills, they are becoming more and more familiar to me. I am now spending less time thinking through each step to take. It is staring to become more second nature.
Yesterday, I pushed myself beyond my skill level and ended up in a situation that was beyond my ability to control. I was caught in a much stronger wind than I was capable of handling and ended up capsizing and then struggling to recover, then capsizing again. This cycle repeated itself several times.
Help did arrive in the form of a boater who came to assist. The boater suggested that the sail be released. Once done, I was able to keep from capsizing again and was able to sail safely back to my cottage.
Today, I intentionally got back out on the water. I was a bit more reserved after the adventure of the day before, but it was not long before I was playing the wind and taking in the experience of sailing.
The lesson from this adventure? How do I learn to sail? By doing it over and over again and again and again. How do I learn to do anything? By doing it over and over again and again and again until it is second nature.
For children this is natural and expected. Parents would be rightly concerned if a child never tried to walk again after the first time they stumbled and fell. And yet as adults we can be so quick to give up when something does not work out the first time it is tried.
I have a desire to be able to sail. I will do what it takes to learn and be competent. So tomorrow, I will be back out on the water in the Laser – practicing again and again – and enjoying the moment.
Is there some other area of my life that could use the same kind of attention as I am giving to sailing? Is there something else that, if I were to work at over and over again and again and again would become second nature to me?
Maybe that can be the topic of a future blog post.