Monday, 22 September 2014

Is it good enough to try?

Lately I've been into telling people that "I tried my best", even if I have failed at something or not quite done as well as expected. Somebody called me out on it the other day and asked if I thought that was good enough. I did a double-take. Of course trying your best is good enough I exclaimed with a mixture of indignant reproach and bemusement. Then I thought long and hard about it and started to wonder if it really is good enough to try your best at something when you know you might not fufill someone's expectations.

The biggest one right now in my life is sailing. My boyfriend is an avid and very talented helmsman (and crew for that matter) and he loves to be sailing at any given opportunity. In fact, before we started dating I invited him on a family sailing trip at the request of my sister-in-law who thought it would get us talking again after our fall-out weeks before. I didn't think he would actually take a day off work to sail with us all - he did. I would love to believe this is because he wanted to spend time with me, though I'm not totally convinced it wasn't the sailing which swayed him into saying yes more than my presence. So you get the picture, the man loves his sailing.

I've been sailing solo since the age of seven though not competitively and not with much gusto. Prior to that I was always thrown in a boat and everybody else did the work because, well I was so little. In Greece I taught sailing each day but under the supervision of a head instructor and made sure the teaching was up-to-scratch. I suppose I was in the boat for moral support and helpful hints more than anything else. I also got a great tan from working on the beach so there was that. So you see, sailing wasn't new to me when I started crewing for my boyfriend.

I don't make the cut though. Everytime we sail together we go through the same pattern which is roughly this: smiles, his erratic steering, my frustration, smiles because it's enjoyable for a moment, me feeling like he's patronising me with his comments, him thinking I'm not trying. 

Sometimes I think it's better to try than not. Sometimes it's right to persevere. Just as long as we have realistic expectations of ourselves and our talents and don't falsely lead others into thinking we're brilliant at something we're not. I'm not great at sailing, no matter how hard I try, but he knows that now. We can only improve, we can only try our best. 

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