The Challenge of Competing Priorities

August 21, 2021 in Sailing yarns - No Comments

There is a real tension between the priorities we’re juggling to wind down our land lives and getting ready to head to sea. Some days it’s hard to know what to focus on and the list is long:

  • Major boat repairs (e.g., getting the water maker working, new bottom paint and thru hulls)
  • Major boat upgrades (e.g., adding a full enclosure, new sails, new instruments)
  • Minor boat upgrades (e.g., installing lee clothes, bilge alarms)
  • Sailing the boat and shaking down
  • Earning money to pay for all of it
  • Getting my business processes set up to work with our nomadic lifestyle
  • Moving all our land-based possessions to the right places
  • Tending to our health and well-being today
  • Tending to our family and friend relationships
  • Staying connected as a couple beyond the never ending to-do list

In the project management world, there’s a concept called ‘the critical path,’ defined as all the activities that must be done from the start of a project to the finish of a project in order to call it complete. And when I look at the list above, 95% of it feels like it’s on the critical path. And what’s wild about this project is that it’s self-inflicted! We set the goal and we set the timeline. But, neither of us want to lessen the goal or lengthen the timeline (we’re not getting any younger…).

So, what to do?

The reality is that shaking down the boat and being super connected as a couple are probably going to need some tending to when we shove off. And, as much as I’d like to be hyper type A about things, the reality is that getting business processes in place will likely happen as needs arise.

It’s also likely that there will be people in our lives who feel disappointed because there is just not enough time and not enough money to do all the things we’d like to do with the people we love. This is a tricky one. It’s hard to balance our personal goals with the wants, needs, and expectations of others. The people pleaser in me hates to disappoint, but time is finite and the ticking clock is getting louder with each new sunset. The best we can do is savor the moments we have and look forward to the ones to come — whenever that may be.

I keep thinking of the question Mary Oliver posed in the last line of her poem The Summer Day, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I’m going sailing and hope y’all will come along.


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