My arms burned like fire.
I was soaked but could see the opposition 30 yards away. They were winning…
Should’ve picked the American boat!
The captain yelled to grind so I strained my dead arms harder, cranking the wench; adjusting the sail to starboard.
Salty sea mist sprayed up my nose. Wind yanked tears from my eyes. Around me, friends hustled lines and gears.
We were sweating, straining, smiling. This was a blast!
There I was in St. Maarten, in a sailing regatta with 17 friends from around the world. And even though we were losing, I couldn’t help thinking, this is what life is all about…
Ever Feel Like You’re Missing Out on Life?
You know…you feel a little punch in your gut as each day slips away.
Maybe it’s because your life isn’t what you want it to be. Each lost day means one less chance to turn things around.
Look, it’s ok. We all feel like that from time to time. The fact you recognize it is good, because it’s a sign. It’s a sign from deep inside you that something needs to change.
In fact, recognizing that sign in my life is what got me to that sailing regatta in St. Maarten…
Canadian Yacht Takes the Lead…
The True North IV, my sail yacht, surged ahead. We cheered but could hear our friends on the Stars and Stripes taunting us from behind.
Finally we had some breathing room, so I grabbed a beer.
No, this wasn’t a professional race. It was a shore excursion offered through the cruise ship I worked on at the time. I’d always wondered what it’d be like to race in a regatta. So me and some friends from the cruise ship got together and booked the trip.
Thankfully there were a couple of veterans on each boat telling us what to do. We also got to relax on a private beach afterwards.
How to Escape Life’s Doldrums & Rejoin the High Seas
But like I said above, the only reason I experienced it at all was because years before, I had that feeling of missing out on life. I dreamed of travelling the world, having adventures and building tons of friendships.
The fact my life didn’t look like that at the time made each passing day painful.
But I didn’t immediately go from couch potato to sipping beers on world-class racing yachts. It took little steps here and there that eventually led me to work on cruise ships and realize my dreams.
Here are some tips to get YOU experiencing more of the life you want:
- Be Present. I put this first because it relates to everything else. If you’re always in your head analyzing life, you’re not living life. You’re missing out by not being aware of your life as it’s happening. Thing is, when you DO start living the life you want, you’ll still miss out if you’re not present.
- Improve Your Conversation Skills. Maybe I’m biased, but I think conversation skills are the highest leverage skills you can learn. They can get you a better job or a promotion. They can build friendships and open doors wherever you go. Above all, knowing you can handle yourself socially in any situation gives you courage to be adventurous and live fully.
- Find Your Passion. If money were not an issue, what would you do with your life? Whatever you answer, take one step toward it today, no matter how small. Taking part in your passions works miracles for your outlook on life.
- Say Yes More Often. Like Jim Carrey in the movie Yes Man, saying yes to more opportunities can turn your life around. It comes down to getting out of your comfort zone. If you feel life passing you by, then what you’re doing day in, day out isn’t working. Say ‘yes’ to something new and see where it takes you.
- Make a Bucket List. Write down a list of things you dream of doing before you “kick the bucket.” They can be big, like seeing Carnival in Rio (finally checked that one off, whoop whoop!), or small, like volunteering for a local charity. Whatever excites you, write it down and get to checking them off. One bit of advice: don’t get too attached to your goals. Instead, view them as a fun challenge where you try to achieve as many as you can. If you don’t get to them all, no big deal. At least you’ll achieve more by trying than not.
- Get Physical. If you’re so inclined, get outdoors every so often and work your body. Go for a run or cycle or play a sport. We’re physical creatures and using your muscles can make you feel alive.
- Appreciate. This one’s very important. If you don’t learn to appreciate what you have and where you are currently, you’ll never be satisfied. Yes I know, you’ll appreciate your life when it’s better, right? All I’m saying is that’s a dangerous mindset. You risk forming a habit of looking to the future for a better life, even after you’ve achieved a lifestyle you once desired. Learn to appreciate the NOW by looking for something good in your life, even something small. That way, you’ll be better prepared to appreciate your dream life when it arrives.
Stars and Stripes Forever
So we lost the regatta. But what can you expect? I was on the Canadian sailboat and the majority of cruise ship passengers to St. Maarten are American. Of course the Stars and Stripes always wins!
Doesn’t matter. The experience was a win for me and all my friends. After the race, we sunned on the private beach and I appreciated a perfectly fulfilling moment. A moment proving life wasn’t just passing me by.
Follow the suggestions above to prove the same for yourself. Happy sailing!
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