Relaxation, is it a priority?

14 10 2009

First thing some of you will notice is the picture that greets you at the top.   Mom thought Sam, you remember him he’s new, we like him, looked like a wolf chasing prey.  Come on Mom he’s a sweet little puppy.  So I bowed to the pressures of the family Matriarch and put a Bonnie and Clyde type picture of the trouble  makers Lucy(you will recall Sam’s big sister, we like her too) and Sam, you will notice why we need the global warmer.

So, priorities right?  We all have them, they change as our lives mature.  When we were young they were very short term and more on the want side then need side although you can all look back into your childhoods and find a memory of a whiny child swearing before all that is holy that you desperately need that new (insert item of your memories here) or you would just die.  I would guess this wasn’t one of your parents priorities unless of course you had been whining for days on end and then it moved up the priority chart as a means to an end.  Reverse child psychology on some of your parts.

Age mellows all, well most anyway.  As we wander through our lives we have different things that influence our desires, needs, wants, dreams, etc…all of which helps mould our priorities.  I can look back in my own experiences and pick out the really big moments that caused drastic changes in my priority mix(yes I can use this, it is not exclusive rights to investors or marketing people).  Some of my biggies were marriage and children, but also more children, divorce and health issues.  How’s that for a full hand.  Most of you have had the same opportunities (I chuckle at …and with some of you) in your lives.

Marriage and children brought others into the decision pool.  It wasn’t just me, although if you ask the right person she might say I didn’t change the thinking that much, probably right.  So priorities changed.  Providing for others was becoming important and someone named the Jones’s moved in next door.  Why do we feel we have to keep up with them?  I don’t anymore, funny how a change in priorities can do that to you.

Today I list God and Family at the top of my priorities, as we all should, nothing is more important.  If you would ever like to discuss this subject I am always available, give me a call or stop by.  I have had many shifts in life lately, some personal and many health related that personally and spiritually shook me to my core.  I spent a lot of time alone or in a hospital pondering, thinking, straying(actually away from my beliefs during a part of my divorce) and praying.  I urge everyone to self evaluate on occasion, certainly don’t wait until you are too late or you fall ill, do it as an excercise for good mental and spiritual health.  My daughter, the most important girl in the world, would agree that I am a much better person, father and super hero(yes I am her Superman, I have many super powers including the power to make things better with a kiss) than I probably was.

Lucy says "relaxing makes me a cool dog"

Lucy says "relaxing makes me a cool dog"

Which brings me back to relaxation as a priority.  I think its healthy to relax and since this is my blog thingy we are running with it ok and I am going to add some goofy pictures of mine like the one on the right.  Oh regarding that picture, you know she really can’t talk right?  I mean…shes a dog!

We all relax in different ways and probably more than one.  Some may chose a book(a favorite of mine when I can), or go to Church(especially nice if your family enjoys it with you), perhaps swimming, or fishing, or chess, or lets not forget naps, or any number of possibilities from activities and hobbies to serene meditation and  yoga.  Endless possibilities. 

My favorite is sailing.  I never used to use sailing as relaxation.  Let me explain.  I race sailboats.  Lightnings, Lasers and J/22’s and used to race big boats too.  Racing is rarely serene, it is intense, fast paced, mind numbing and physical, always adjusting something to eack out another 1/10th of a knot(a knot is equal to 1.15 mph so 1/10th would equal .115mph, yup pretty precise).  I have owned a sailboat(and no it is not an elitist or rich guy sport, look at me but that is for another time) since I graduated college.  I drove my former wife and step daughter away from sailing because I couldn’t relax on a boat.  Times have changed, maybe age has mellowed me.

One of the best things God ever gave me was a little girl named Sydney(well she didn’t come with a name but that’s what we called her, second choice was Fred) and a wonderful woman named Kitten(ok she came with a name, Jenny, but there are a lot of Jen’s, Jennifer’s and Jenna’s in our family and I think its cute).  Sydney kind of woke up one day a few years back, I would guess she was 6, and decided she liked sailing.  So we started to go out on sailboats, not racing, I know, I had the shakes too, but my priority was first her safety then her enjoyment and then going fast.  The summer she was 7 we spent every one of our weekends together sailing our J/22 Pigs aarr Us  around Tawas Bay or with other family members on their boats like Hog Tide, Anti Swine and Starburst.  It was always her decision to go sailing and would end the day with a swim or a trip to the candy store for a treat.  The summer she was 8, Jenny entered our lives(ok short version. Jenny and I have known each other since she was 2, Brian her brother one of my best friends, yes she is younger than me, jealous? Jenny helped me through some dark spots in life and through some health stuff and next thing you know we went on a date,  she kind of Loves me, but who doesn’t, ok? She moved back to MI where she resides now with Sydney and I).  Kitten had never been on a sailboat so on one of her trips to MI(she lived in FL at the time) I took her sailing, again priorities were for her safety and pleasure first and foremost.  We had a great sail, I think I had more pleasure than her.  We now sail together every chance we get.  Sydney and Kitten both race on our boat with me now.  We really like the family races on sunday’s, very laid back.  But we mostly just sail to sail.  Buzz the state dock, cruise along the sand bar, sail out to anchor and swim or out to Mystery Island(named by you know who).  Relaxing.

Our Lightning "Scars & Scrapes" out front

Our Lightning "Scars & Scrapes" out front

I still race. I still enjoy it.  I am still intense.  I still win sometimes.  I am more relaxed when the girls are on board and probably have more fun too.  The Lightning class of boats is very family oriented which is fun on the weekends we can play with them or on a Wednesday after work.  The J/22 is super family friendly, with a big safe cockpit to pile kids and coolers in for the day.  We are making some cushions to we can stretch out on those long lazy relaxing days.

Summers are short in MI, so we try to squeeze as much sailing in as we can.  This summer I am pretty happy to say I sailed/relaxed 46 days, and I had a late start due to recovery.  Next year I am hoping for more days, and an earlier start, say April and ending in November.

Dad and Lucy on a family race

Dad and Lucy on a family race, and yes it is ice cold...the Heine


More importantly than just relaxing, I have realized a way to add a love to a priority.  I have found I get great enjoyment out of sailing with Jenny, and Sydney and you know what?  Others too.  Like Dad, and the kids at the club(Jenna, Riley, Jacoby, Derek(Derek’s a big kid, right Monica?)) and their parents and our friends.  It’s like a big family get together come the weekend.  We sail together and we play together.  Dinner can become an event but we have the big table with the most laughing before we head off to bed to sleep and get up and do it again.  Relaxing. 

I think to truly relax you need to be at peace.  Not is general but with yourself.  It took me a long time to come to peace with myself and life, but I can honestly say I am.  I had a lot of help from my girls.  Now the game is on, the future is bright and we are going full steam ahead priorities in order.

Bouy #2 Tawas Point shrouded in fog

Bouy #2 Tawas Point shrouded in fog

So I will leave you with this tid bit or mindless rant if you will.  My source for this is a little joint in Ann Arbor called Zingerman’s and advice from Ted and Donna Lee.  Good pasta is worth the money as is good Parmesan Reggiano, Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.  Some of the taste treasures that we can all enjoy.  I like a bit of quality angel hair pasta, drizzled with good EVOO(extra virgin olive oil), fresh shaved Parmesan Reggiano(not the stuff you buy at the mega mart, go to a cheese monger who will break a piece off for you) and grape tomatoes fresh from the garden.  A nice addition would be a piece of Zingerman’s Paesano Bread, warm of course, with a balsamic, EVOO, garlic and pepper dipping sauce.  This is on the menu at Leroy’s by the way as Heaven Can Wait pasta, truly sinful. Enjoy and relax man.




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