Even as we look forward to the delivery of our next boat, I lament the end of our sailing dreams. The reasons why we really had to move from sailboat to “stink pot” are distant memories: the inability of my increasingly arthritic joints to handle the physical aspects of running a blue water sailboat, the now recognized fact that we were never going to take Mar-Lin Nights on the circumnavigation which was her birthright, and the poor fit between a blue water deep draft no A/C sailboat and our very shallow Florida waters and blasting summer heat , and that’s just for starters. But the feel of the helm when the winds and sails are in perfect harmony and the mists rising over the Chesapeake creeks as the sun rises over a perfect anchorage are always with me.
We’re excited about the new boat that’s coming in March, and we know it will bring us a new set of adventures on the water, but right now we’re deeply immersed in the realities of boat ownership: the costs, project management, sweat equity, hurricane season preparations, and never enough time to use her. And so it is with any major life or business change. What’s ahead isn’t very real, and what’s behind has had its rougher edges blurred by memory.
The negative aspects of yesterday are easily forgotten but the good parts remain in our memories far longer and with greater clarity than they deserve. What’s ahead, no matter how promising and how good the fit to what’s needed, is viewed inevitably from the perspective of the work needed to get there (rather than the value once you’re there) when it should be viewed from the perspective of how necessary and desirable is the destination.
Our new boat doesn’t have a name yet, and that’s part of the change management problem, at least in my head. I’ve got Mar-Lin Nights as a short hand for all things wonderful about boating, as a label for all those positive memories, but there’s no name yet around which to rally my dreams for new adventures. All we’ve got now is hull #136 with which to tag the growing list of expenditures and my own performance anxieties.
The bottom line. For me personally, who mastered the running of Mar-Lin Nights and loved the look on the faces of dock crews as I maneuvered her, in reverse, into a slip or pulled her expertly alongside a dock in high winds, I know that I’m going from master to novice with this new boat — and novice isn’t a comfortable place to be once you’ve experienced being a master. Is it any wonder that change management is tough?