Even though I love cruising, I still have always had a tendency to worry:
My mind can spin out endless dire scenarios.
It hasn't kept me from cruising, but it can stress me out before leaving, or lead me to dawdle and think of reasons not to leave a port that has become comfortable.
And sometimes, too, my fear has turned to irrational panic - and panic, I know, is never my friend.
Panic will paralyze me so that I can't make a decision, and lead me to make mistakes: If my mind is stuck watching the disaster movie playing in my head, it is not paying attention to what is happening right now aboard the boat!
But I love cruising so what do I do?
Here are some of the many little things I have discovered along the way that help me keep my fear from mushrooming:
I tend to imagine all sorts of disasters but none of them have happened. Sure, we have had problems along the way (that we have dealt with) but the dire scenarios I envision never come true. It doesn't make much sense for me to listen to my fear-mongering voice because it is almost always wrong.
My mate (who thinks things will go okay) is much better at predicting the future than I am.
I remember that I don't really want to get stuck in port forever.
My friends are sailing on - I want to be able to share the new country, the new anchorage with them. I know that I am bound to love the new place we sail to.
Anxiety is a seasickness trigger
|I appreciate that I am so lucky.|
That one simple statement has helped me more than anything! I stop and remember where I am - on a boat, in the middle of an incredibly beautiful natural world, sailing into a port with the ability to enjoy it in ways that normal vacationers can't. I appreciate that I am so lucky and blessed to be able to follow my dream and to experience this amazing life with my partner.
How proud we are of those times, how much we learned! I remind myself that the sense of pride is just around the corner, just hours or a day away. I know that I will soon be a little more experienced from having this passage under my belt. Each successful passage makes the next one easier.
It might be dolphins rushing to the bow to dance in our bow wake, it might be a falling star or a rainbow. I say thank you, accept the gift and let it soothe me.
I think of Debbie Leisure learning to singlehand after John died, Yvonne Katchor learning to walk again after an aneurism, Kathleen Watt confronting her fear of the water. I have met so many super people out cruising.
They don't know it but I draw on their strength and inspiration!
In subtle ways, others see when we live life courageously, and it gives them the courage to live their lives with enthusiasm as well. I want my loved ones to be able to live their dreams, so I support them by facing my own challenges.
I know, from experience, that we can handle bad weather, engine breakdowns, dragging anchor, officials that insist you leave now, even a fire and recover from it. I know friends who have lost their boat - and bought another. Because, after 20 years of cruising, I know so many people, I know people who have dealt with everything aboard and made it through.
|I tell myself we went cruising for our health!|
I do know that we cruisers tend to be healthier. And that the risk of an auto accident ashore is probably much greater than any risk we will face out here on the ocean.
I know that there is nothing better for the health of my mate than him waking up with enthusiasm each day for a life that he has chosen. Our physical cruising lives are so much better for us than sedentary lives ashore. I tell myself we went cruising for our health!
|It's okay to worry …some!|
I know so much more now about weather, about the sea, about our boat. Sometimes I don't realize how comfortable I have become until I see newcomers worry about things that I know we should be able to handle just fine.
It's okay to worry …some! But if you find it starting to derail your cruising when you have only been out a short time, find YOUR own personal ways to make peace with it.
You CAN get through your fear and enjoy what you went out cruising to enjoy. You were right all those years as you prepared for cruising – your dreams can and will come true! And you will have this successful experience to draw upon for the rest of your life.
About Kathy Parsons
Kathy Parsons started sailing summers in Maine aboard a series of small sailboats before taking off cruising with her husband in 1989.
Over 20 years later, Kathy is still living aboard and sailing the Bahamas, Caribbean and US aboard Hale Kai, a Downeast 38 cutter with her partner Bill.
While sailing the Caribbean, Kathy wrote two language guides which are widely used by blue-water cruisers Spanish for Cruisers and French for Cruisers. She also conducts Spanish for Cruisers classes at tiki huts, beachside picnic tables and now on the internet through Seven Seas U.
Kathy lined up good friends Pam Wall and Gwen Hamlin to join her in giving “Women and Cruising” seminars at boat shows to answer questions women have about cruising. The 7-page handout that they give out to women at the seminars has grown into thisWomen and Cruising website.
These days Kathy balances cruising with language teaching, managing the Women and Cruising website, giving seminars, traveling any and everywhere she can, and spending time with family and friends. Life is good.
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