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Resolved: Let's go boating

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Making resolutions for the New Year is a good thing even when we don't always do what we say we're going to do. Most important, it says we want to be better people. That is, we haven't given up on ourselves. I went public with five boating resolutions for the New Year, 2002. To the extent that I did not succeed, I'll blame lack of time, not good intentions. To the extent that I succeeded, I'll credit the subject matter – boating. 

I believe they are still good, for me, and hope my desires will rub off on you as well. Therefore, I hereby declare these remain my resolutions for the 2008 and I've changed the date accordingly.

1. We resolve to go boating more in 2008 than in 2007. Last year and in years before we sacrificed leisure time for work. This comes from a little voice in the head that keeps whispering work-before-pleasure, work-before-pleasure. It's hard to out-shout that voice because, alas, there's always more work to do. But, good news. Doctors say a well-balanced life must include leisure as well as work. Hopefully, our newly-balanced life will include more time on the boat. Thanks Doc.

2. We enjoy boating so much that we want others to have the same feeling. In 2008 I’ll ask our friends to join us on the boat more often. I read somewhere that if you take up an activity before the age of 15 years, you’re more likely to continue it as an adult. So, when we invite our friends to cruise with us, we’ll ask them to bring their children or grandchildren, too. In 2008, we resolve to introduce boating to more young people, both friends and clients alike. We want them to catch the boating bug, too.

3. We are in awe of Mother Nature. Where the water meets the sky and earth, she is a huge, felt presence – beautiful and inspiring: It's a privilege to see her sunrises and sunsets, no two the same; her birds of prey on the wing…or pecking their way across a sand bar. In 2008 I resolve to learn more about the things I see that give me such pleasure. I'll get out my bird book and learn all the varieties of shorebirds again. I'll try to identify each shell I pick up before I add it to my collection. We are in awe of all that surrounds us and we are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world.

4. Where we boat there are hundreds of small, uninhabited islands and when we cruise by them we sometimes wonder what they're like. The birds own most but others have untouched, inviting beaches and there's a rise to the ground that suggests to me that people lived there years ago. Maybe they left behind a tangible record of their lives -- arrowheads and pottery. In 2008 we will launch the dinghy more in search of the spectacular history of southwest Florida, from the Calusa Indians to the Cuban fishermen. Our Islands are rich in history. I plan to learn more of that history in 2008.

5. I love books and own a stack of award-winning novels, biographies and historical fiction unseen by my eyes. Birthdays, holidays and anniversaries come and go. I get new books; my stack gets taller. Our boat has a special place where a body can curl up and read a good book. I'll put my books on the boat. When we go cruising in 2008 I will read my books.

You may have noted in the wording above the use of the royal "we." Vic didn’t ask to be included in my resolutions but, as I read them over, I realize I've included him anyway. Oh well. Like a good meal and a nice bottle of wine, New Year's resolutions are better when you can share them with someone special.

Barb Hansen

proprietor of Southwest Florida Yachts and

Florida Sailing & Cruising School

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