I have this tattoo on my left arm of a sailboat and I probably get asked a few times a week (mostly by cheeky old guys who exclusively drink Arnold Palmers) if I like sailing.
And then it takes every ounce of my strength to keep my eyes from rolling back into my head.
There’s a book I’m reading right now that reminded me of what was going through my head when I got my sailboat so I thought I’d share its meaning with you.
At the start of the book the author asks the question –
“Do you see your life as something you create? Or do you see your life as something that is happening to you?”
I think for me it was the latter when I was younger. It seemed like everything was out of my control and I was an innocent victim thrust into a dark, cruel world where no one understood me and I was all alone.
Teenage hormones, am I right?
I see the world differently now. It’s a new kind of scary, but I think because I’m terrifyingly aware of the control I do have and the weight of my decisions.
Of course reality is usually somewhere in the middle, and that’s what led me to a sailboat.
I felt like a sailboat was the perfect metaphor for me at a time when I was discovering life beyond the innocence of childhood and the angst of adolescence.
All I can really know and experience and control is this small ship.
The wind, the ocean, the dark, the light, the jedi (JK)… are fluid variables I don’t have control over.
There’s something incredibly freeing about acknowledging that I can’t control what happens to me. However, I absolutely can control how I react.
I see a lot of negativity in the world. I see a lot of people complaining on twitter about small shit. Cloudy sky shit. Light rain shit.
Maybe if we stop letting bad weather throw us so violently from the helm, we’ll learn to appreciate clear skies even more.
With that said, I don’t want to dismiss heartbreak and loss. There are massive, sailboat destroying waves that come along. There are storms that never seem to end.
We can’t stop them. We can only control how we react.
And that’s what my tattoo does for me.
It reminds me to actively choose, moment to moment, how I’m going to react in the middle of anything.
Clear skies for now.