Finding My Balance

Posted July 24, 2017 by Dawna Bate
Categories: Uncategorized

IMG_1501One of the terms I really dislike is “work-life balance”. I’ve never subscribed to that because work is a part of life. We can’t throw a switch when we walk into work, forgetting all of our “outside of work” problems – the broken washing machine, the kid’s struggle with the bully at school or the elderly parent that needs extra help from us. And when we punch out after our shift – either figuratively or literally – we don’t leave behind the frustrations of the work day.

I have struggled with life balance for a long time. I realized a few years ago that it has nothing to do with how much time is spent on an endeavour, but rather how much energy is spent in those activities. If I had an exhausting day at work, I would have used up my energy for that day so home life suffered – and my butt would be spending the evening on the sofa. If I was dealing with something stressful in my personal life, it was harder to put as much effort into my work tasks. The trick was to balance that energy so that I had some available for each area of my life. Sometimes priorities would mean that one area had to get more than its fair share in order to deal with more pressing demands.

Even though I took early retirement last year, I’m still struggling with finding my balance. Right now, health issues and cancelled dreams are competing with the need to control the stress I feel and find a way to contribute to the household demands – financial and operational. All of this has thrown me off balance. Totally and completely.

Second Wind has always been my sanctuary, although it has been harder this year to feel the calmness and respite when there. I need to make changes to get back to that feeling. So today, I start making changes. I reclaim that feeling of calmness when I am on the boat. I renew my energy. I stop worrying about things that can’t be handled when I am on Second Wind and instead immerse myself in the restorative energy of the water, the scenery, the friendships. Today, I find my balance again.

 

[I have a companion blog – Second Wind Sailing. See a related post “Keeping My Balance“.]

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Launching and Relaunching

Posted July 8, 2017 by Dawna Bate
Categories: Uncategorized

IMG_3212I’ve been away from all of my blogs for quite a while, and it is way past time to get back to them. I’ve missed them. A couple of days ago, I relaunched my Second Wind blog. Today, it is Second Thoughts’ turn.

What took me so long? So many things. But it boils down to “waiting for things to be perfect”. And how wrong that belief was. I realized that when we launched our boat Second Wind for the season on June 6th this year.

There were so many delays with this year’s launch. The season itself was delayed – lots of rain, historically high lake levels, many marinas closed or damaged. Fortunately, most of our marina is operational since we have floating docks. Other delays happened as well. We decided to change the type of paint we use on the bottom of the boat so that took extra time and effort – especially since we had to work around all that rain. (It’s hard to paint in the rain!) David had a lot of days where he was working and I had several days where my health wasn’t up to snuff. We squeezed things into the schedule as best we could and got done what we could get done when we could.

Finally, we got to the point where we were ready to put her back in the water. The rest of the work, such as stowing and cleaning, could be done in our slip. We finally had an agreed-upon time with the marina. And that day dawned rainy and stormy. Not just a drizzle, but a downpour. Not just a breeze, but high winds. It was crazy.

We decided to launch anyway because friends were there to help us and we had the time booked, and the time off work. So we dropped her in. Well, actually, we had the marina folks gently set her into the water. David and Keith set off to take Second Wind over to her slip for the summer. Keith’s wife, Lyn, and I met them on the dock to catch lines and tie up. We had two dock hands there as well since it was so windy.

David and I have developed a docking process over the last few seasons. It has reduced a lot of stress for both of us since it makes docking a lot easier. We were prepared. We had the necessary lines ready. I understood that he’d be coming in faster than usual to counteract the cross winds. I was still nervous. So was he.

And then docking happened. Perfectly. Perfect speed. Perfect positioning. Perfect placement of that first line that makes all the difference.

We had decided to not wait until everything was perfect for us to launch. It turned out well in spite of that perfectness not happening. And that has made me realize that I can’t wait for life to be perfect for things to happen. So I’m moving forward with life. And one step is moving forward with this blog. Because things don’t happen because life is perfect. Life is perfect because we make things happen.

One Voice

Posted March 14, 2013 by Dawna Bate
Categories: Uncategorized

Captain hatWhen on a boat, there is one voice that has priority over all others. That is the Captain’s. This person is in charge of the boat at all times. On our boat, my husband is the Captain. He is in charge of the decisions on the boat and I need to follow through on something when it is required – no ego, no delay. This assures the safety of the boat and of us. Because when you are on the water, navigating in the marina, docking the boat – safety matters.

We have all sorts of voices you listen to when you are making decisions. That lingering voice from your teacher who told you that you will never do well in math, no matter how hard you worked at it. The jeering voices of playmates that told you that you couldn’t run very fast, even though you tried your best. The taunting voice of a professor who told you that you would never learn a subject, even though you were very interested in it and spent a lot of time studying.

What would it be like if you had one voice that you listened to for your major course plotting and route changes? What would it be like if you always knew which voice to listen to? What would it be like if you always knew who was in charge?

You can know which voice to listen to. It is the one inside your head, giving you the proper directions. You control what happens when you set sail on your journey. You control what happens when you choose to change course. You control which marina you stop at and how long you stay.

You are the captain of your destination. Listen to that captain’s voice — and enjoy your journey.

What’s Moving You?

Posted February 19, 2013 by Dawna Bate
Categories: Uncategorized

Flapping SailIt begins as the perfect day. Sunshine – the perfect breeze – the ideal temperature. We set sail and, full of enthusiasm, we follow the wind, letting it take us where it will. The ride is all we could expect. Smooth – fast – fun. The sail continues like this for a while and we add this to our log of best days on the water. And then it happens.

Or doesn’t happen, as the case may be. The wind dies, the sails flutter, the boat stops.

Have you felt like this in areas of your life? Are things sailing along smoothly and all of a sudden, your wind dies, your sails flutter, you stop?

Have you hit a few ‘dead spots’ in your journey through life? Do you experience periods of no winds moving your forward? What do you do in these cases?

On a boat, there are a few options when this happens: Sit and enjoy the down time. Navigate to another area with wind. Start the engine and get underway again.

I’ve hit ‘dead spots’ a few times this year. I started with a new project, a new task, a new venture. I was moving along fine – my course was set, my energy was high as were my hopes. And then all of a sudden — nothing. Absolutely nothing. No movement. No energy. No wind.

When we hit these times, we have choices as well. We can sit and enjoy the down time, although life doesn’t usually allow us this luxury. We can change course and aim for other destinations. We can start our engines and keep going.

I’m working on the third option — learning what starts my engine and continuing on my charted course. The desire to contribute to these initiatives, do my best and see the final results keep me going. Assessing my commitment after a temporary period of drifting gets me going again.

What course are you plotting? What’s moving you?

Reflections on Doing Less

Posted December 31, 2012 by Dawna Bate
Categories: Uncategorized

ReflectionsIt’s New Year’s Eve 2012. I’ve been wanting to launch this blog for a long time and just haven’t gotten around to it until now. People are busy reflecting on the past year and resolving to do differently during the upcoming year. I’m not one for making New Year’s Resolutions but I am one to reflect and plan what I would want to do differently – and the same – as the year just ending.

This year has brought a lot of changes and a lot of evaluating attitudes and events in my life. The first half was the second half of ‘firsts’ without my mother. Her first birthday, first Easter, first Mother’s Day, my first birthday. The second half of the year was a lot of doing – work was insanely busy, I got more involved in Toastmasters, work got in the way of Toastmasters, catching up with Toastmasters got in the way of other things. (Don’t get me wrong. I do like my job. I just prefer it to be controlled busy instead of insanely busy. And I am very happy with my decision to be more involved in Toastmasters. I just didn’t think I’d have to squeeze it into my crazy work schedule.) I spent a lot of time being tired, worn out, exhausted, drained – and a lot of time thinking of what I needed to be doing instead of actually doing it.

In the quiter week between Christmas and New Year’s, which I usually take as vacation, I spent a lot of time resting. And reflecting. Many friends posted on Facebook about their resolutions for the upcoming year. Which made me wonder about what I want to do in 2013. I have friends that push themselves – doing more, achieving more, growing more. Not SMART goals, but stretch goals, hard goals. I’m good with that at work, but I’ve decided that I want to approach my personal life differently. This realization came while reflecting on my summer. I was at my most peaceful and relaxed was when I was on the water, sailing on our boat. (There’s another blog about that. If you want the link, let me know.) That time spent watching the sun reflect off the water was also spent reflecting about my life and my future.

In 2013, I want to do more of doing less. Less stressing about things – and more enjoying the moments that are happening, whatever is happening. Less procrastinating – and more checking things off my list. Less energy spent on stressful relationships – and more embracing the uplifting, supportive ones. Less worrying about being perfect – and more trying new things. Less thinking about what would make me happy – and more doing those things. Less time wasting – and more time investing.

There are some things that I will not be doing less of: loving my family and friends, encouraging others, laughing, being grateful.

However you decide to approach the New Year, whatever you decide to do in 2013, I hope it brings you joy. And I hope you find some time to follow me on my journey to do less.