on going it alone

June 11, 2010 at 3:08 pm 1 comment

the news of abby sunderland‘s impending rescue has me thinking about the pleasures and perils of going it alone versus getting help from others.  for those of you who don’t know who abby is, she’s the 16 year old sailing by herself around the globe.  she recently sent out a distress signal from the indian ocean, where she’s been battling winds up to 60 knots and seas of 20-25 feet.  the mast of her ship has snapped and her engines aren’t working so well.  can you imagine?  by yourself?!  at 16!!

some people think she’s crazy.  some people think she’s brave.  i have to admire her.  i never ever would have been sure enough of myself at 16 to go it alone.  not for anything, never mind sailing around the world by myself.  even now i’m not that sure of myself in many arenas.

running my own business has been kinda like that, minus the inherent physical danger and risk of imminent death.  i’m nowhere near as cool or fearless as abby, but the similarities are there, erm, at least if you look hard enough.  i set out on my own little venture, having to function as captain and navigator and deck hand, doing all the chores on board as well as having a goal and steering myself in the right direction.  i have no one to blame if this doesn’t work.  i have no one to fall back on during tough times (okay, that’s a gross overstatement, but sometimes it feels that way).  i have no one telling me what to do–and trust me, that is a double-edged sword if there ever was one.

but i can always send out the distress signal if i have to.  and sometimes you have to.  sometimes there is nothing else to do.

say for example you have a nasty cold.  again.  and say–hypothetically now–you don’t want to go to the doctor because you feel like you should be able to beat this thing by yourself.  but as it drags on and beats you down and gets the better of you, you realize you need some outside help.   then–again, just hypothetically, mind you–the doctor prescribes some antibiotics because a month is waaaay too long for it to be just a cold.  and presto!  you feel so much better.  it doesn’t mean you’re weak, it just means you needed a little help.  you can still go on about your business and it’s not like the doctor helped you make jewelry or write a blog post or pay bills.  this is what i tell myself.

i do not envy abby’s position: alone, in-between walls of water with a broken vessel, clearly hating to call for help because it will compromise her goal of doing it all by herself.  but on the other hand, she’ll be safe.

well i think she made the right call.  and it reminds me of a few quotes that i wanted to share, including this one, which i picked up from a friend.  her mother used to say it all the time and i remember it often:

Entry filed under: about me. Tags: , , , .

the people have spoken! What the what?!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Steph  |  August 18, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    I stumbled onto your blog while looking for sailing quotes and I have to say I was tickled at your mention of sweet Abby. I am friends with the Sunderland family through incredible coincidences and have the pleasure of interacting with Mama Sunderland on a regular basis. Both Abby and her brother Zac are personal heroes of mine (despite them both being much younger than I) and I can tell you without a doubt, they are wonderful people on many levels. I wholeheartedly agree with the angle you presented in regards to comparisons in this posting- and have often thought myself “If Abby and Zac have done what they have, I can certainly do _______ (fill in the blank).”
    To say they are inspirational is the understatement of the century I know, but still, so incredibly poignant. Thanks for the blog post, but most importantly, thank you for not slamming the Sunderland family. ❤


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