Whitsands Beach, Cornwall

Last night I was interrogating Jim Shekhdar about his Pacific Ocean experience. I found myself falling into the same trap as I did before the Atlantic – screening out what I didn’t want to hear. I didn’t want to hear about huge waves, shark attacks, pitchpole capsizes, running out of water and having to drink their own urine. I remember smugly thinking: ‘That won’t happen to me. I’m a lucky person.’

Fortunately none of those things DID happen to me, but clearly there’s a balance to be struck. Forewarned is forearmed, but it’s easy to get hung up on things that are either statistically unlikely, or which are so totally beyond my control that there is no point in worrying about them.

On the Atlantic, my expectations were definitely too optimistic. Even though there were no major crises, I had expected the experience to be enjoyable and life-changing. It wasn’t, and I was disappointed. It was a disappointment entirely of my own making, because reality was unlikely to live up to my excessively high expectations.

So I’m trying to implement two lessons learned:
– if I’m going to do something crazy, do it in a sensible way – hope for the best, but plan for the worst
– keep my eyes and ears open for the bad news as well as the good, so I have more realistic expectations the next time around.

I was sure there was a quote about this. I couldn’t find it, but while I was searching I did find these fantastic quotes from Andre Gide, French writer, humanist and moralist. Food for thought…

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore

To know how to free oneself is nothing; the arduous thing is to know what to do with one’s freedom.

There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.

He who makes great demands upon himself is naturally inclined to make great demands upon others.
(this one especially relevant to anyone in my ‘team’ of helpers!)

[photo: Jim Shekhdar at the Eddystone Cafe yesterday evening]

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