Sailing Advice- Are you Pro- or Re- “Active”

By Kim Lowman

Wellness Program Manager

As we enter the dog days of August, I decided to look back to the last time I felt active and in control of my routine. That day was March 11th for me. It was the day my routine began to change. Many, like myself, rely on a routine for well-being. We like to feel actively involved with our daily life. In the dictionary, active is defined as “engage, participate, do energetic work.” I do feel engaged and I certainly do energetic work and I am participating, so why do I also feel slightly off-kilter? I speak with a lot of people who feel the same way. Some feel it even stronger because, like me, they were already a little eccentric to begin with so, we are super-duper off-kilter right now. However, I see a big difference in how people are handling the lifestyle we are temporarily experiencing. People are either being proactive or reactive. And that small prefix—re or pro—can help with the balance we are all looking for. It’s called even-keeled and I miss it!

So what is the difference between proactive and reactive? Imagine a sailboat on a beautiful day bobbing along, with sails billowing and a light wind. Everything is in balance, even-keeled. Suddenly, in the distance you see dark clouds and the seas start to churn up a bit. A proactive sailor would formulate a plan on how to address what appears to be a storm ahead, Maybe adjust the sails and change direction. Maybe lower the sails down, turn on the motor, turn around and head for the nearest harbor. This would be my choice! Or, maybe, if there was no other choice, lower the sails, put on lifejackets, turn on the engine, batten down the hatches, and ride through the storm as safely as possible. A reactive sailor would ignore the clouds and hope the weather would clear before they got that far. But then have to figure out a plan quickly, when the skies opened up and the seas swelled before the boat capsized. A reactive sailor may not think to put the life jacket on until it was too late. News flash—it doesn’t work if you are not wearing it. We cannot outrun every storm, but if we do decide to sail into it when we have no choice…wouldn’t a proactive plan be great? At the very least, a life jacket.

Which active are you? Proactive people confront a situation. Reactive people tend to wait for the event to happen. I am not saying one is better than the other and I actually know nothing about sailing, if truth be told, but it does seem that making a plan before the event happens saves a lot of stress and anxiety.  If you are feeling off-kilter already, adding extra stress and anxiety doesn’t seem like the way to go.

Well-being is all about being proactive. You feel that “Covid-19” pounds creeping on…you might want to make a plan on how to get some control of it. Are you feeling overwhelmed and burnt out? Proactive planning on how to find time to de-stress may be better than hitting the wall and jumping off the boat into the deep blue sea. Catch yourself making excuses for unhealthy choices? Blaming it on the Covid? We all do that from time to time, but then we get proactive and get back on course. A good sailor charts a course.

So, as we approach these dog days of August, how do you see yourself sailing forth? Proactively charting a course, planning for the potential stormy day but thoroughly enjoying the calm sunny ones? Will you have a lifejacket ready in case it gets a little choppy? Sunglasses if it gets too bright? A harbor to head toward if the seas churn up? Or, will you just react and decide in the middle of the maelstrom? I hope the stormiest days are behind us, but I will still be tying a dinghy to my sailboat with 2 oars in case!