Despite the title, this is not a post about water sports. The water sports are a metaphor. Work with me here, people.
At different times in my life, I have been looking at some very different paths in regards to an area of my life. I’ve learned that I need to think long term, and plan and act accordingly in the short term.
It occurred to me that I love a challenge. Often, I will work furiously at learning to do something strictly to see if I can learn to do it at all. Sailing was like that for me. I did it like, a grand total of two or three times, before I realized I did not enjoy it one tiny bit. But I needed to do it those two or three times to show myself I could do it. There is something beneficial to the soul in trying oneself against a challenge strictly for the sake of risking failure and for the value of what you learn about yourself in being tested. Life isn’t meant to be a leisurely stroll through the park.
Waterskiing was sort of similar. I did it for a long time in my teens, then I stopped for several years. At one point in my twenties, I did it once just to see if I could still do it. It wasn’t the same. I recognized that it was something I learned for the challenge of learning it, and not something I wanted to continue to spend my energy on. It just wasn’t something I enjoyed in and of itself.
Then you have kayaking/canoeing, which I picked up on a whim, essentially because I had the opportunity to do it daily for practically nothing when living in Florida. The base outdoor rec center charged $2 per hour to rent canoes, and all boat rentals were half price after 5 pm (they closed at 7). It was on my way home from work, so for literally a dollar a day, I could paddle around the quiet back bay to my hearts’ content and hang out with the ducks (who were generally more humane than most of the people I knew at that time). I developed a lifelong love, eventually learning that I really preferred a kayak.
There are things in life that are like sailing or waterskiing was for me: simply tests whose sole value lie in being a test. Or interests and passions that only last “for a season and for a reason.” Much as I enjoyed learning to code websites, in the last year I’ve learned that I’m a writer, not a designer. But I had to try both writing and design wholeheartedly to find that out. I had to be disappointed when I looked at my design work compared to that of real designers. I didn’t do bad work, it just simply wasn’t inspired. It wasn’t great. And it probably wasn’t ever going to get great.
In the last year, I’ve learned so many things, but one of the most important is that your time and energy are finite. If you’re waiting for that day when you “have it all together” and magically have unlimited time, you’ve got a long wait ahead. You have to figure out “where your heart is, for there your treasure will be also.” And invest your resources of time and energy there.