Anticipation, Anxiety and Preparation

First day at school, graduation, college, these are our first major mile stones. Then we move to new jobs, relationships, marriage, and children. Each step on our journey in life is met with excitement and trepidation. What’s around the corner? Will I like it? Am I making the biggest mistake of my life?

Do we ever really know our next step is the right one? Thankfully, those steps come far apart, leaving us plenty of time to anticipate and prepare for the next stage in our life.

Sailing is about always anticipating the next breeze, the next storm and the next passage. Does experience really make the journey easier? No. If we’re smart, we manage the anticipation and excitement with the anxiety.

Being an overachiever , I manage my anxiety with bucket loads of preparation. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong. Mostly my captain and I are still out here learning and growing. Every decision is met with consequences on our life path. Does it make us stronger, or do we give up? I choose to think it makes us stronger.

On our journey south, we have to always make a decision of whether we:

1) Continue?
2) When we leave?
3) Where we’re going?
4) How long will it take?
5) What weather window do we have?
6) Do we have back-up (bail-out) plans?
7) Will the crew be safe?
8) Will the crew have fun?
9) Is the boat prepared for anything?
10) Are we mentally ready?

You can replace sailing decision with your own list for each life change:

1) Take the leap?
2) When?
3) Where?
4) How long?
5) Do I have time?
6) What choices do I have, in case?
7) Will I/we be safe?
8) Will I/we have fun?
9) Is everything prepared?
10) Am I mentally ready?

Come on, give it a try. Changing jobs? Yep, all the questions work. Moving? You get the idea. Having a baby? Still working. Planning a wedding. Okay, this one I don’t think the questions work, as much as I think we get too wrapped up in the moment to realize we’re living the questions. Probably should slow down and look. But you get the idea.

Back to sailing.

I’ve monitored the weather for several weeks looking for a pattern. (Weather is the only profession I know you can be wrong 90% of the time and still keep your job.) Weather is really out of our control, but we do try to manage it.

We check the boat continually for readiness and make changes and maintenance as needed.

When we make a big leap for sea, food is the biggest consideration and as chief cook, I meet the challenge. Preparation for sea sickness, keep the crew fed even if the sea conditions demand all my attention is not only essential for health, it keeps us on our toes to react to any condition.

Here’s my latest afternoon of preparation for a two night, three day passage south. No stopping, and potential counter seas, meaning it won’t be the smoothest ride, but we’ll stay dry.

Food Preparation


Creamy Potato Soup already locked in the pressure cooker. Yeah, hot soup being a projectile across the cabin is not a healthy business. Did I mention that’s another benefit of my trusty pressure cooker?

Then there’s the roast beef hoagie sandwiches wrapped in foil so a crew member can heat them and hold something hot while filling a void in the middle of the night when the air gets nippy.

My Cranberry Scones for breakfast and snack and the all important ginger cookies. Ginger is a well known remedy for sea sickness. Then throw in two bags of salad with plenty of vegetables to spoon out when the crew just needs a bit of something.

What do you do to prepare for life’s changes? Do you meet the challenge with anticipation or trepidation?

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About Nancy J Nicholson

Nancy J. Nicholson is a wife, mother, writer, and full-time sailor, writing of her adventures and creating contemporary mysteries along the shores of the eastern United States and Caribbean. She fills her time with new friends, exploration, food, knitting and reading.
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12 Responses to Anticipation, Anxiety and Preparation

  1. Dannie Hill says:

    Wow, Nancy. You are one perpared sailor! Food looks and sound delicious. I think safety should be a few numbers up on your list but it’s a very thoughtout list!

    Great post and good sailing.

  2. Hallie Moon says:

    I really enjoy your blog, Nancy. Makes me a little envious!

  3. marianne plunkert says:

    Love the analogy you’ve made. So true, too. Great writing!

  4. I am a hugely unprepared person. =) I take the leap and regret later….I like to think I’ve changed some of it as I’ve gotten older….or maybe I’ve just slowed down on the leaping eh? =)

  5. Debi says:

    Great thoughts! You are so right – definitely good questions to ask before you embark on any adventure. I’m really enjoying your blog!

  6. Natalie says:

    Fantastic post. Really making the high concept idea work – WOW – impressive!
    I am a planner like you and those questions are all questions I ask before making or taking any major move in life. In the end, change is difficult and you can never really know how it’s going to turn out. Sometimes, even with all the best information and a well laid out plan, things fall to bits. But, for the most part, I find my questioning and planning works out…and then trusty the ol’ gut helps to! At some point though, we all have to just take the plunge and hope for the best cause who knows when rough waters are going to creep up on it. Ya can never trust the weather man!
    Love the post – really fantastic! And the food looks fabulous!

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