Editorial January 2009 Issue

A Life Left Unresolved

Not long ago, I took New Yearís resolutions quite seriously. I found these lists helped give my life some direction, and Iím probably living a healthier, saner life because of them.

Lately, though, Iíve sunk into a rut, and am having a hard time sticking to my resolutions. I suspect that age has gradually lowered my expectations for what I can accomplish in my allotted span. But I also think that maybe I am enjoying NOT keeping to my promises. It is as if this annual act of defiance is reasserting a youthful recklessness. That is the nice thing about getting older, nobodyís going tell you how to live your life, not even yourself. (Although itís harder to feign deafness when itís your conscience speaking.)

The editorís OíDay Javelin, Misty, braces for another year of broken promises and days of splendor on the water.

It seems, however, that Iím the only one who has been liberated from the tyranny of lists. Everywhere I turn, someone else is promoting their "bucket list," enumerating the places to visit or things to do before they die. I see no need to offer another wish list for the coming year, but I do think thereís room for a "wishful-thinking" list.

So for those of us who are comfortable with our own human weaknesses, I offer this New Yearís resolutions that no sailor can possibly hope to fulfill. When approached with a dose of humility, Iíve found that these unattainable goals ensure a year of profound satisfaction and perhaps even a flash of enlightenment. Best of all, theyíre recyclable. You can use them year after year.

1. When another boat fetches into view, I will repress all temptation to tweak the headsail, or critique the other boatís mainsail trim.

2. On the night watch, I will
always leave at least one cinnamon roll for the morning watch.

3. I will never again eavesdrop on radio chats between fellow cruisers.

4. My binoculars will be used strictly for navigation.

5. I will remain calm when I hear a stream of obscenities and the slosh of water coming from the head.

6. For one brief moment this year, every piece of onboard gear will work perfectly.

7. I will design a battery-operated flashlight that lasts more than 30 days on a boat.

8. I will not wear the same pair of underwear two days in a row.

9. I will always wear shoes.

10. I will learn to light the propane grill without singeing my eyebrows.

11. I will not curse my diesel engine, nor get down on my knees and beg it for forgiveness.

12. Anchoring in crowded harbors shall heretofore be an effortless activity carried out without rancor or raised voices.

13. I will not peruse the used boat websites and fantasize about the boats for sale.

14. I will feel not an ounce of melancholy when my boat is put to bed for the season.

15. I will not dream of spending the rest of my days on the water.


From myself, the staff and contributors at Practical Sailor, we wish you a Joyful 2009.


Darrell Nicholson


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