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The number one maintenance task on our boat:  a sense of humor.

By "Duh-ria"

Spring is trying to get here.  Wherever you happen to live, it’s been pretty miserable.  Where we are, it is wet and cold.  It's supposed to be Spring and we still haven’t painted the bottom. Usually we are well into the completion round by now.  We are launching in a couple of weeks and we have barely had a couple of days to start the heavy lifting.  As the tension mounts, it is easy to get a little snippy. (“Okay, fine.” “Sure, whatever.”) 

So let’s face it, life gives us a chance to laugh or cry at every turn.  They say laughing is easier – uses fewer muscles.  Then again, I know crying can make me feel a whole lot better after all those endorphins go for a swim.  But crying must use more muscles because I usually feel exhausted afterwards.  Smiling and laughing, on the other hand tends to energize me so I start whistling while I work and the next thing you know, the boat’s in the water and the season’s gotten off to a happy start.  So maintaining that sense of humor tends to be a high priority aboard our boat.

Alex and I are pretty easy going for type triple As.  He’s got a really curious sense of humor, which drives his mother crazy but which I adore (lucky thing).  I have a glass half-full approach to life, which balances my pragmatic side (Ohmygosh, it’s tax season, we’re late working on the boat, the house has to be painted this weekend, we’re selling the condo, my car broke down, the dentist is drilling me Monday, Alex has a colonoscopy on Tuesday, I have a huge presentation Wednesday and our book gets published this Thursday, but no problema!).  Naturally nothing is going to go as “expected”, so we’ll just have to punt when it doesn’t.  Onboard Aleria, when someone does something really silly, we say they pulled a “Duh-ria.” We don’t take ourselves too seriously. 

How do you keep laughing through all the stuff? Like when the engine doesn’t start, you need 42 coats of varnish, and the head gets blocked.  You recognize that all the stuff is temporary and that all the good things are the memories that linger afterwards.  Some of them are memories of personal trials – like making it through a major storm unscathed after the engine didn’t start.  Many are memories of small moments when that snapshot camera in your mind burns the image indelibly into a file to be retrieved later.  It’s interesting how the mind tends to file away the less desirable memories into the deeper drawers.  It even mislabels them sometimes so they don’t surface when searched.  So if you store more happy memories, your memory is likely to remain more active.  These are real tangible benefits of maintaining a sense of humor. 

A sense of humor is a valuable asset in any circumstance, so you need to really work at it.  It’s not about the joke du jour.  It’s about your outlook on life. That ordeal vs adventure thing. If something doesn’t go as expected, you can kick and scream at everyone and everything, or you can laugh yourself silly and figure it out together.  

How about this season we spend some time up front maintaining our senses of humor?  No more Captain Bligh.  Welcome Captain Ron.  It’s a new world out there and someone’s got laugh about it. 

Joy of sailingCoastal Boating (Reg. in Ireland No. 443222) is a division of Knowledge Clinic Ltd.
Port Aleria, Rosnakilly, Kilmeena, Westport, Co. Mayo, Ireland - USA: PO Box 726, Mahwah, NJ 07430
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