As a caregiver, I don’t often get much time to myself. So when a few former co-workers decided to get together and arrange a sailing trip around my hectic schedule, I carved out the time. Something about being out on the water brought me so much peace and helped to center me, which after a rough few days with my grandmother, I desperately needed.
We set off on our voyage around 11:30 am with plenty of layers and a picnic lunch in tow. The crisp September day with 10-12 knots of wind proved to be the perfect weather for sailing, and before long, like the boat moving through the wind, I felt my body slowly let go of all the stress and emotions from the week.
As we made our way across the Long Island Sound and headed toward Stamford, Connecticut chatting and catching up on the last four years, I realized how important it is to make time for friendships. Often my schedule is so packed and regimented with my caregiving duties that it seems easier to pass on social outings. So I was grateful that this crew worked their schedules around mine and encouraged me to come out for some much-needed time away.
Being on the water felt like a metaphor for life these days. There was so much beauty—the sun was shining, the air was gentle, but every once in a while there was a giant gust that served as a reminder of how easy it is to steer off course. As I took the helm and tried to control the nearly 50-foot vessel, I found myself making sudden and aggressive turns rather than soft movements to guide us back on course. The jerky motions seemed unavoidable in the moment, but thinking back, all the boat needed was a gentle turn to go in the right direction.
When I agreed to go on the sailing trip, my only expectation was to have a good time with old friends. But what I got was a life lesson that when we feel the need to over-correct, sometimes a small gesture will have the same, if not better, effect…in life and in sailing.