When did we as women of a certain age stop doing things that put the fear in us? Because we have right? And within reason this is a fair approach to life.
Personally for me the thought of sustaining an injury is the worst! Top of the list in my what would make me most miserable scale. For example, I make a habit of holding on to hand rails when I walk down stairs now. Purely because I don't want to fall and break something.
However....recently on a vacation to Noumea with some great friends I spontaneously combusted and decided to do something that literally put the fear of GOD in me...like it was right up there on my worst nightmare list. I lived to tell the tale and I have never felt more bloody alive in a long time.
I SAILED FROM NOUMEA TO AUSTRALIA. Yes I did!
So you can understand the significance of this, I am a very anxious sailor. For some reason when the sails go up the anxiety levels sky rocket. I've never felt comfortable healing in a yacht and am often tempted to jump overboard as I'm a strong swimmer and reckon my chances of survival are higher in the water. (Just for the record right now if you ever end up ship wrecked your best option is to stay with the vessel).
One of our best friends couples recently threw caution to the wind and purchased a 44ft catamaran in Noumea. This really was two years in the planning and although I alway knew Nick was going to do it, it wasn't an easy exercise. The house got rented...the kids got an email (kidding)...and they bloody went off to live the dream.
Now I have to confess at this stage that I was a total nay sayer. I couldn't understand how they could leave the kids behind let alone us - and just couldn't imagine having to cull my wardrobe to fit on a boat to be perfectly honest. But they say the best friends to have are those with large luxury vessels...so Barb and I booked tickets for the four of us to go and hang out with them in Noumea.
The plan was that Pil and Bev would join us just before we left as they were coming on board to do the 'blue water'. You would frequently hear me mutter 'no f**king way...that's my worst nightmare...nada nada nada. But after a week or so on the boat and loving it - I realised that a week shy of my 58th birthday, an opportunity had presented itself for me to really challenge myself. And weirdly I had this quiet sense of calm about it all. So I checked with the skipper(s) - and although their initial reaction was anxiety about my anxiety - they left it entirely up to me. So I said why not.
By the time it came to set sail, we were so well briefed on safety I was almost in an 'ohm' frame of mind. A friend had told Caitlin when she started this journey to 'trust the boat' Those three words put me in a state of calm and belief that nothing was going to go wrong, and if it did it would still be okay. And our mantra was 'safety first'
The first night was the biggest seas and the most challenging. But I really did trust the boat - whose name is Mahana by the way. We had a watch roster going so that there were two on watch at all times from 6pm to 6am. The guys had 3 hour on 3 off, and we gals had 2 on, 4 off. That first night stepping up onto the top deck was breathtaking. Breathtaking because the sky was full of stars, and breathtaking because there was no moon and it was pitch black. We were barely able to make out the horizon at times. It was clear to me that one does not want to go overboard - especially at night.
I could rattle on about it for days, but five and a half days later we saw land again. The lucky land, Australia - and sailed on in to Bundaberg for a big lunch and a beer served by a lovely woman who tagged darl onto every comment that came out of her mouth.
I guess if there's anything to take out of this it's that we can't stop challenging ourselves. The energy and vigour that event has given me I simply can't explain. Weeks later I'm still on a high - and I feel like I can do anything.
That one little 5 letter word 'trust'. Trust the boat. Trust your instincts. Trust yourself.
Trust me - you won't regret it.