This year I have started to get back into sailing.
Actually, that’s somewhat of a fib… as it makes it sound as though I used to sail all the time. I didn’t. I went on a couple of school trips to a place called Calshot, near to Southampton, during which I complained about the rain and getting wet (!), and concocted various reasons to excuse myself from activity so that I could instead sit and gossip from the sidelines with my friend Hutch, who felt the same way I did.
Back then, I had nowhere near the same amount of enthusiasm for nature and the outdoors that I do now. Nowadays, there’s not much that gets my adrenaline rushing more than being completely exposed to the elements, even vulnerable to them. The idea of being on a boat in the middle of a rainstorm, with saltwater splashing into my face, is actually quite appealing to me, hence why I was keen to get back into the hobby I never had, especially living so close to a sea I seldom otherwise… see (sorry).
Out on the boat the other day, I realised that sailing is a hobby which gives me thrills and energy, and really does “put the wind in my sails”. I then thought about that expression a lot. We use it all the time, and we know what it means, but I don’t think I ever quite had the same appreciation for it that I do now.
When the wind hits a sail at the correct angle, a boat moves forward with much aplomb, crushing the incoming waves with ease. What’s impressive about this is that the wind is, of course, a natural force. The movement of the boat does not come at the press of a button, but a set of natural conditions to which you have to work your sail accordingly in order to get the most from it. Get your boat facing the right way, and tighten the sail to the right extent, and off you go. Nature takes care of the rest, and movement becomes effortless.
And perhaps that’s what everything we do in life should be like. All of those natural things that fuel us – passion, interests, hobbies, talents – those are our winds, those are what can get us moving along on an exciting ride, but only so long as we are facing the right way, and have set ourselves up correctly. Wind against a flapping, neglected sail won’t do much at all, in the same way that you’re unlikely to do anything thrilling with your interests if you don’t align all the other relevant conditions, like the time and place to execute them, and the way to execute them. Take care of those, and nature will do the rest. Things will move.
If we can align things so that we can feel the wind in our sails more often, then who knows what adventures we’ll have…
Song of the Day: Benji Hughes – Baby, It’s Your Life!
“Have fun with your life”. Well said, Benji.