I looked for a solution, not an excuse
Sometimes our day does not go as planned. Everything goes awry.
That morning began perfectly. A sunny, windy day with white clouds scudding across the clear horizon and the waters of the Great Sound alive with small waves of turquoise blue.
Bill and I raced across the choppy seas in our small boat, sending silver spray that wet our faces and made us smile. It was the finals of the Bermuda Nationals, and as we passed Two Rock Passage, the harbour was crowded with the small sails of countless boats, manned by earnest and serious young sailors. The competition was on, the conditions challenging, and the brave Opti sailboats were vying for position in a vast clutter, each hoping to be first across the line.
We were able to approach quite closely, and I could feel the excitement like an unseen force of nature. It was reflected in the faces of the children as furrowed brows broke into irrepressible smiles that quickly returned to fierce concentration. The Nationals! Then a vision from the past appeared as the stately Spirit Of Bermuda glided by in all its classic majesty, the crew cheering encouragement to the young sailors in their impetuous little Optis.
Sixty-five young sailors from Bermuda, the USA, Canada and several other countries wove back and forth in the strong winds, leaning as far out as possible to keep their boats on keel. Capsized captains struggled in the water to right their boats. In the thick of it, we saw our daughter Ava’s sail, number 1099, and Bill let out a loud shout.
Ava changed to a starboard tack and cut through the competition crossing the start just as the horn sounded. She leant out and tightened the mainsail, urging every bit of speed out of her boat.
I felt a sudden pang as I saw the happy, always singing 12-year-old transformed into a cool, confident racer. She radiated concentration and competence, and as the boat vanished in the medley of white sails, I felt a part of her childhood go with it. Then Bill gave a tremendous yell, put the boat in gear and powered off in pursuit.
On our way home, crashing through the waves in the Great Sound, our motor died.
Suddenly, it was just the sound of the wind and the waves, and I looked at Bill. He was staring at the console, lost in thought.
“We are out of gas,” he said with finality. My heart leapt.
“I have to do a live video broadcast to hundreds of women on Facebook in 25 minutes!”
He shook his head helplessly. “The gas gauge is broken.”
I realised I would not make the broadcast. My first reaction was to say something accusatory to Bill like: “How on earth did you not notice?”
Then I remembered the time when I forgot my passport and we missed the flight the day before a hurricane and Bill didn’t say a word to me. I breathed deeply and calmed down. I thought that, instead of blaming him, I should direct my energy to solving my situation.
Twenty minutes later we were still drifting across the Great Sound. When things get bad, they often get worse; the strong wind was blowing us directly towards the only outcropping of rock in the entire huge bay. Bill was working with our one kayak paddle, with little effect.
I looked at my phone. I had service. I decided to go “live” right from the boat. Three minutes later I was holding the phone, describing in detail our somewhat dire situation to my audience in Russia, the Ukraine, Kazakhstan and many other countries around the globe. They gasped in excitement! How exotic! Nina in a small boat about to be washed on the rocks!
Needless to say, when our friend and neighbour appeared in his boat at the last moment and threw us a line, it was a great success.
My decision not to give up, not to blame others, to look for a solution instead of an excuse — these are some of the life lessons I teach in my broadcasts. The universe had finally put me to the test, and in front of my own audience!
Then there was our daughter at the prize ceremony the next afternoon. No longer the bold competitor, she stood shyly with her best friend and rival, trying to melt into the woodwork.
She meekly threaded her way through the crowd to receive her award for Top Girl in the Green Fleet. Her untold hours of practice had paid off, but she seemed more embarrassed than triumphant, and I smiled as her 12-year-old self returned.
Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind.
Share your inspirational stories with her here: ninalondon.com