Lessons Learned

What I have learned: Choose your mistakes

Exactly enough provisions?
Buying exactly enough provisions?

All cruisers are trying to find the sweet spot of “exactly enough” — exactly enough spares, exactly enough gear, exactly enough provisions, exactly enough planning — but we all know, even as we strive, that our careful attempts at finding “exactly enough” are made in changing conditions based on incomplete knowledge and are bound to miss the mark regularly.

With the knowledge that I am going to make mistakes, I have come to the state of mind where I choose, in advance, which type of mistakes I am going to make. In most scenarios there is one type of mistake that will drive me crazy more than another type of mistake. When I come across a dilemma, in which I would normally be trying to figure out exactly the correct solution, I play out the worst case scenarios.

Which will drive me bananas faster: locating, buying and stowing spare parts for my fridge, or turning it off if it breaks? Will I be more irritated if I run out of food, or if I have too much and some goes to waste? Will I be more angry at the world if I carefully plan out all of the documents I need to clear into a country and find that everything has changed or if I arrive without what I need and have to run around searching for a copy machine?

Choosing your mistakes may sound negative, but I find it freeing. If I chose the mistake of buying too much food because I knew that running out would drive me more crazy, then I feel better about having to throw out some food.

Instead of feeling as if I made an error in buying “exactly enough”, I know I made a conscious choice of the lesser of two evils.

I make the same number of mistakes but I make the kind of mistakes I can live with. Know thyself.

About Livia Gilstrap

Livia found the transition from full time work as a professor to full time work preparing a boat to cruise frighteningly easy but sorely misses having minions.

She and her husband Carol have been cruising for more than 600 days aboard their 35′ Wauquiez Pretorien Estrellita and will be heading into the South Pacific from Mexico in a few weeks. You can read more about that unfolding adventure on their cruising blog (thegiddyupplan.blogspot.com).

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