Midlife is full of unexpected twists and turns, and sometimes, those curveballs can completely derail even the most carefully crafted plans. In the pursuit of our dreams and aspirations, we often create elaborate bucket lists – a roadmap to the experiences we long to have before we bid adieu to this world. But what happens when our bucket list dreams turn into unexpected disasters?
In this hilarious personal story of resilience and determination, our expert, Longevity Coach Nicole Christina, shares her unpredictable journey.
I’ve been happily checking off bucket list items this past year which included visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and learning Spanish (Duolingo!). And I was very excited to be enrolled in a local sailing class. I’ve always wanted to learn to sail. I pictured the most lovely scene: being on the lake in a meditative state, looking at the clouds reflected on the water, hearing birds, and feeling super serene. The quiet, the deep satisfaction and the gratitude.
That’s not what I got.
We started with a basic review of terminology. So far, so good. There was the predictable social anxiety about who would be partnered up. The rigging lesson began. As a knitter, I’m pretty good with knots. But there are lots of rope ends and openings. That process took about an hour.
I thought to myself that I could have been in the middle of the lake on my kayak by this point. “Stay open“, I coached myself.
The friendly instructor hand-towed the rather substantial boat down to the launch. There was the predictable social anxiety about who would be partnered with whom. We were paired up and sent off unsupervised. Luckily the wind was almost non-existent.
I tried to find a comfortable place to sit. Whatever position I tried, part of my body was contorted. I was very aware that the boom was at the head level–and that there’s no such thing as a small concussion. My partner was unhappy, detailing the reasons this was a terrible teaching strategy. A few minutes later, the instructor was alongside us, in her motor boat cheerfully giving us instructions. Her motorboat was spewing fumes. And the boat was gently rocking. And I realized I hadn’t eaten enough that day.
That’s when I realized I was about ready to vomit.
There’s always that delicate balance when you think you can overcome a wave of nausea and when you know you should find a private place asap. I was wavering on this until a strong wave came over me and thought about how embarrassing it would be to actually vomit during my sailing lesson. I was already feeling ambivalent about being at a yacht club (although as yacht clubs go, this is the most laid-back one ever).
I swallowed my pride and told the instructor I was feeling nauseated. She was totally understanding and efficiently towed us in. I quickly hopped off the boat, very motivated to be at my house in a horizontal position. I walked gingerly up the launch and headed home. Thank goodness it’s a very short drive.
I’ve never considered the fact that a bucket list item could be an unmitigated disaster. But I’m going kayaking tomorrow and won’t have a bit of envy for the sailors working hard to mend their sails.