Celebrating the little stuff aboard! Don't get so caught up in the "big stuff" that you don't celebrate the small victories . . .

Celebrate the Small Victories

Many of the items here on The Boat Galley deal with solving various problems that we encounter when living aboard.  Perhaps more important is celebrating when things just “go right.”  We all celebrate the big milestones — the first night out at anchor, the first overnight passage and so on.  But there are lots of other causes for celebration.

Jackie on Lively Lady sent me this, listing many of the little things to celebrate.  So often we grumble when things go wrong, but forget to smile when they go right.

So how about it? How about a toast — or slice of chocolate cake — to celebrate when there’s no need for problem-solving tips??

From Jackie on Lively Lady:

Whether you are a full-time or part-time cruiser you find that life aboard a boat is different than life on land. Of course, many things are similar: meals, household chores, etc. But even those are down-sized due to the smaller size of your “house.” For instance, no large dinner parties, of course, and a hand-vac or whisk-broom are usually sufficient for any cleaning you choose to do.

You have new daily routines and seem to mark your days with the high points. Land-dwellers do that too, but the high points sure are different for cruisers! Here are some of the “small victories” that we celebrate:

  • When it doesn’t take hours to get through with the Port Captain and Immigrations when checking into or out of a country
  • Your forwarded mail actually finds you and especially so if it comes quickly
  • When the day, or even a few hours, are sunny so laundry or other outdoor projects can be accomplished
  • Not dropping any parts, tools, or anything else in the drink while working on those projects
  • Finding some shade on the boat when the sun does shine
  • Catching a fish that’s not too big for the refrigerator — or sharing it if there are other boats around
  • Getting the overhead hatches closed before the full onset of the storm hits
  • Filling the tanks with that rainwater
  • Actually finding the item you were looking for in a village store (or on your own boat for that matter!)
  • Thinking you might have communicated correctly with a local using what little you know of their language and broken English
  • When the inertia from the outboard motor on the dinghy is sufficient to get you to the dock, but not at ramming speed
  • Going ashore and not getting eaten alive by mosquitoes or no-see-ums
  • Seeing familiar faces or boats when pulling into a new-to-you destination

While underway there are different routines and different causes for celebration:

  • Don't get so caught up in the "big stuff" that you don't celebrate the small victories . . . Seeing dolphins always feels like a good omen
  • Night watches that are totally uneventful except for shooting stars and the phosphorescence on the water
  • When the winds and seas agree to give you a smooth ride instead of throwing you in the “washing machine”
  • Knowing you have enough fuel to get you where you’re going when the winds aren’t there or are on your nose
  • Knowing you’re really not aground even though the chart-plotter says you are
  • Having the anchor set the first time and not drag when the wind changes

And finally: knowing there is at least one cold one in the refrigerator, especially when you’re at anchor and a bar’s nowhere to be found!

What “small victories” do you celebrate?

Celebrating the little stuff aboard!  Don't get so caught up in the

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  • Waterwoman
    Posted at 16 November 2011 Reply

    Our victories are different from world cruisers, in that we have never crossed an ocean, but traveled to Mexico into the Sea and south to Zihwa, for six years,from San Francisco, and that in itself was a victory for us:

    Safe departures and arrivals made in thick fog.

    Long passages and radio conversations with other traveler’s passing you in the night.

    Seeing the brilliant lights of shrimpers/fishermen miles in the distance (away from you).

    Watching the sun rise or the moon set.

    Seeing the gps satellites traversing in the sky.

    Thanks for the thoughts, it is always a wondrous thing to celebrate the small stuff!

  • Tammy
    Posted at 16 November 2011 Reply

    I’m thankful when the engine or outboard start right up, when the pilot light stays lit, and when my wonderful husband hands me that first cup of coffee every day.

  • Jim
    Posted at 30 March 2012 Reply

    Make a correct weather prediction. Tightening the stuffing box without dropping a wrench in the bilge. Discovering a good book based on its cover. Taking noon sights that yield the same position as the gps.

    Excellent topic Carolyn. People tend to see only the mountain and ignore the stairway and scenery along the way to the top.

  • marie ralph
    Posted at 28 April 2012 Reply

    We are still working towards our dream of buying a keeler and sailing off into the wild blue yonder. We are 12 months away from purchasing and it is very frustrating that I am ready to go, but our time frame is not!. CELEBRATE THE SMALL VICTORIES. Of course, why didn’t I think of it? So here goes.
    I have discovered The Boat Galley and am trying out lots of ideas on my long-suffering partner Ian. We are narrowing down our boat choices and having some great discussions on the boat things we feel are important. I started my Coxswains ticket course this week and will be improving my knowlege of good stuff like navigation, survival at sea and radio operating. (Is the Coxswain’s qualification known outside Australia?) It will also give me a qualification. I have plans and dreams. I read inspiational stories by people who are doing what I want to do. I am getting lots of valuable sea time on our own trailable yacht, and other people’s keelers.
    I could go on but I won’t. I will celebrate the small victories and it will make the waiting so much easier.
    Thanks Jackie and Carolyn.

  • Tammy Swart on Facebook
    Posted at 15 September 2012 Reply

    Every time I get the boat backed into the slip without incident, especially if there are witnesses!

  • The Boat Galley on Facebook
    Posted at 15 September 2012 Reply

    Thankfully I never had to back Que Tal in. . . to use a description that another Tayana 37 owner gave, “she backs like a drunken elephant.”

  • Molly Stokes
    Posted at 16 September 2012 Reply

    My small victory is a warm solar shower to wash off the salt water.

  • Karen (Kiki)
    Posted at 25 May 2013 Reply

    Today I was celebrating the fact that I rewired the bilge pumps.

  • Andy
    Posted at 25 July 2013 Reply

    No bloody knuckles when loosening or tighteng a bolt or nut! That also means no mumbled obscenities!

  • Gloria Dawn Turek
    Posted at 23 April 2014 Reply

    We stayed at the Free LaBelle city dock just a few nights ago. Nice little town.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 23 April 2014 Reply

      We were there (in a motel) for 9 days while buying Barefoot Gal and literally everyone we met was incredibly friendly and helpful . . .

  • Julie Dietzel-Glair
    Posted at 23 April 2014 Reply

    Great post!

  • CherylAnn Caf
    Posted at 24 April 2014 Reply

    Very very helpful friendly staff at the US consul in Melbourne Australia ..

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