There are those times in life when things come into immediate and sharp focus. Yesterday (January 20) was one of those days. I went sailing yesterday with my dear friend Jaime aboard his beautiful Jeanneau Sunfast 37. Jaime and I have done a lot of sailing together, but not for many years (9 to be exact). Siince I bought my 1st boat in 2004, he has been one of my most influential sailing mentors. I am going to write more about him in our interview next week, but for now, suffice it to say that he is one of the most revered badasses in my life. Jaime is a self taught sailor, and one of the best and most safe that I know. He has taught me so many things, which to this day are a big part of my own sailing practice.
He is a bit injured, and Haunani is not ready yet, so we decided to team up to race double handed on his boat in the next PSSA race on Saturday. Yesterday we headed out on a practice sail as an opportunity for me to get reacquainted with his boat after all of these years. As we left the dock, he said “you are in charge today”. It felt a little awkward, but as I got into my groove, it was natural and seamless. He listened respectfully to me, and agreed with (almost :-)) everything I decided to do. We had a great sail, and as we were coming back to the dock, he told me that he could really tell how far I had come since the last time we sailed together, and that I have my “shit together”. These words were more meaningful than I can express, especially coming from him. It is always a beautiful experience to see myself (and my progress) through another’s eyes, and in this case it was especially powerful, because Jaime is really the only person who has sailed with me (as an adult) enough to gauge how far I have come. My own eyes (upon myself) can be rather harsh and unforgiving at times, so receiving this compliment was very validating for me. The main reason being the realization that, sailing skills aside, I have actually grown up a lot in the past 10 years. I know that sounds funny coming from a 48 year old, but I could immediately feel the difference in my own energy when sailing with Jaime this time. When we sailed together in the past, I tended to be very defensive and as a result a bit un-receptive. I think I was trying VERY hard to prove myself (probably to the point of being obnoxious), and surely missing valuable things I could have learned, especially from someone like Jaime. As a young woman, I always sailed with older men, and many times they weren’t very respectful of my abilities. I had to fight to be recognized as competent, and this fight continued way beyond when it actually needed to, especially with sailing. I am afraid that Jaime got the brunt of that intensity back in the day (when he was the last person that deserved it). He always respected me, and only corrected me or gave me feedback when I needed it…which I am realizing now that I needed more than I realized.
I wish I could better convey how deep this realization has been to me, but the bottom line is that I am so grateful for the humility that builds with age, as well as the space that it creates for true growth and learning!
P.S. Since I wrote the above draft, I came down with a terrible flu and had to miss our race which is starting right as I post this. I am so sad to miss it, but send all my best wishes to all of the PSSA racers today. I am with you in spirit!