Life Lessons From the Water

My family and I moved to the beautiful state of Florida almost 1 year ago. Every since we had the desire to move here, my husband has wanted to eventually get a boat. With so much water surrounding us, we want to be able to take in every piece of scenery that we can. About 2 months ago, we were able to purchase a boat. We have never been boaters before so we have been learning a ton.

In most of my blogs, I tend to write about very personal issues.  I thought that this time around I would switch it up a bit and write in a totally different style.  As I thought through some of the things that we have learned from our new boating hobby, I realized that many of these things can also be applied to life and the situations that we encounter on a daily basis. Below are a few of these lessons.

–Don’t fight the waves. Sometimes the water is calm but there are other times where the waves are very rough and come out of nowhere. If you fight the waves, everyone in the boat will be worn out from all of the jolts and bouncing, and the trip through these rough zones will take longer to get through. Sometimes we don’t have a choice but to fight the waves. In that case, slow down. This is similar to life when situations arise that are hard to trudge through. If you don’t slow down and allow things to run their course, you will be tired out and feel beaten up by the time things slow down and even out.

–Ride the waves, if possible. When the waves are stronger than we anticipate, it is best to ride the waves rather than fight them. It is a much smoother process. The highs and lows of the waves are more manageable and you won’t feel beaten down once you bypass them. You may be taken off your planned course, but these waves may allow you to encounter beauty and places that you would not have otherwise seen.

–Sometimes you need to get out and push. A couple of situations may occur when the boat motor will not do the job that it is meant to do, for one reason or another. Whether the ground is shallower than you thought it was, while being anchored maybe the waves pushed you too close to shore, or you run out of gas, someone may need to get out of the boat and push it to make it move. In life, this can also occur. There are times when we need to get out of our comfort zones and do the hard work needed in order to get through a trial and move forward.

–Expect the unexpected. Nothing always goes as planned. There will always be surprises along the way, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. In boating, you should always be prepared in case something should go haywire. Some items that you should always have onboard are flares, life preservers, nausea or headache medicine, an airhorn, fire extinguisher, among other things. In everyday life we shouldn’t worry about what COULD happen, but make sure that we are mentally and physically prepared in case something SHOULD happen, because eventually we are all hit with a surprise that we have not anticipated. Once the initial shock of these unexpected events wears down, we need to be able to pull tools from the kit that we have previously put together to help us become grounded again.

–Stop and anchor once in a while. While skimming along the water in the boat, the wind and motor can be noisy. It is so refreshing to turn off the motor, let down the anchor, and just sit and enjoy the quiet while breathing in the salty air. We all tend to get into lifestyles where it is always go, go, go. After a while, we get worn out, discouraged, and have just had enough. Take time to relax! Let that list of household duties sit on the counter for an extra day and do something that you love! Take a day or 2 off of work as a “mental health day” and watch movies all day. Take time to recharge so that you can be the best “you” that you can be for yourself and others.

–Ask for help when you need it. Being new to boat ownership, we were elated to hear that there were companies who literally act as a AAA on the water. I can’t image being stranded and having nobody to call for help. That would be such a helpless feeling. It is ok to ask for help, in fact, it is a necessity sometimes. We can’t do everything on our own 100% of the time. We do what we can, but when we realize that we need that extra help, we need to ask for it.

–Wave at strangers. People are a funny thing! At the boat ramp, people can be very pushy and impatient with one another as they either wait to get their boat in or out of the water. Once those people are in their boats, in the open water, those same people are waving at one another like long lost friends. There will always be that 1 jerk that ignores you, zooms past you and creates humongous waves, but at least you tried to be friendly. I have found that you can truly turn someone’s frown upside down by simply smiling, saying hello, or even just waving. Forget about that one person who couldn’t find the energy to lift an arm to wave back, and focus on the ones that did.

–Take people along with you who build you up, always have your back and who make you smile. A day on the water, or in life, with people you love, makes life much brighter and happier.

Written by Kathryn Conrad

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