Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

When Aleksander Doba (70) kayaked into the port in Le Conquet, France, on Sept. 3, 2017, he had just completed his third — and by far most dangerous — solo trans-Atlantic kayak trip. He was a few days shy of his 71st birthday…He’d been at sea 110 days, alone, having last touched land that May at New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay. The trip could have easily ended five days earlier, when Doba was just a few hundred feet off the British coast. But he had promised himself, when he left New Jersey, that he would kayak not just to Europe but to the Continent proper. So he stayed on the water nearly another week, in the one-meter-wide boat where he’d endured towering waves, in the coffinlike cabin where he spent almost four months not sleeping more than three hours at a stretch, where he severely tried his loved ones’ patience in order to be lonely, naked and afraid. Then he paddled to the French shore…

 “The more you don’t believe in Polish people, the more determined we are. To prove themselves, Polish people will endure everything. If you aren’t willing to suffer, you can do nothing. You can sit and die. This is the only one thing you can do.”

Doba’s physicality is sui generis. His body appears to be assembled from parts belonging to people of vastly different ages. His skin looks 71. His chest looks 50. His hands and forearms look 30, straight off a Montana roper. His hair and beard appear to be taken from a Michelangelo painting of God.

Doba has a deep, almost performance-art-like sense of this. You can be made small by life or rage against it. “Nie chce byc malym szarym czlowiekiem,” he told me. “I do not want to be a little gray man.” This is a common expression in Poland — and a good motto for us all.

~ Elizabeth Weil, excerpts from Why He Kayaked Across the Atlantic at 70 (For the Third Time) (NY Times, March 22, 2018)


Thank you Rachel

Comments

  1. Most certainly no little gray man…why accept the challenge for the third time? Because he can – and does.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. and he will never be mistaken for a little gray man, as he is larger than life

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I do not want to be a little gray woman.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I doubt that he’s the kind of guy that has a Fitbit or Apple watch. (Not that there is anything wrong with old guys having one or the other) He just doesn’t need to know that today, I paddled 35,759 times.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I love that description: “His body appears to be assembled from parts belonging to people of vastly different ages. His skin looks 71. His chest looks 50. His hands and forearms look 30, straight off a Montana roper. His hair and beard appear to be taken from a Michelangelo painting of God.”
    Kudos to him. Proof you are never too old…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You can be made small by life or rage against it. 🙂
    Also like how we all agree on the Little Gray Man. NOT.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. He is amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. If you think you can…you will. Amazing man, but sounds like he is punishing himself.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aren’t we all in our own “beautiful” way?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Judging, punishing, guilt and shame are not what I want in my old age. I’m practising each day to find peace, patience, love and acceptance for myself. 🌈

        Liked by 1 person

        • Of course, you are the gem of a role model for us sufferers…Thank God for you Karen to keep the balance.

          Liked by 1 person

        • You remind me of executing on this:

          “Balance is motion. We live in a universe of opposites, and a balance can be achieved by letting both sides of every issue count. To balance is to avoid standing still: it’s like a seesaw constantly in motion. So balance is constant motion, and the same goes for emotional balance. A placid mind is not a mind in which nothing happens, but a mind that manages to keep its balance, constantly wobbling, as it were. It means not resisting anything and enabling all the emotions to flow into and out of your heart easily. One thing that is crucial for developing equanimity is a friendly, tolerant attitude towards life, also known as compassion, that great virtue. Not just for others, but especially for yourself. People with a lot of self-compassion fare better. Self-compassion helps you to comfort yourself and to stay in the moment without being swept along by emotions. Staying in the moment, with a clear and open mind, kind to yourself and others: that is equanimity. If the ancient philosophers are to be believed, this is our true nature. ~Lisette Thooft

          (via https://makebelieveboutique.com/2018/03/26/27124/)

          Liked by 1 person

  10. He is great man, fascinated me. Thank you dear David, by the way, he has a blog and amazing again, https://aleksanderdoba.pl/
    Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

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