“Welcome To The Boating Life”

Billy Cioffredi, PT | Cioffredi & Associates Founder

Just when I thought I was old enough, or maybe experienced enough, I got reminded of one of life’s simple but fundamental lessons. The remediation came when my wife and I were gifted a boat from family who had outgrown their boating phase. We finally completed building our camp on the lake and didn’t have money for more toys, but would love to get back to water skiing with a growing family of 3 new son-in-laws. So we genuinely accepted the gift.

The boat is actually a high-end recreational vehicle, but it is older and hasn’t been on the water for a couple of years. Enter Eric, my wife’s niece’s husband who is mechanically inclined, has known the boat intimately, and is enthusiastic to help wherever an opportunity arises. First, we managed to get the full-sized boat lift and dock in the water. Then, Eric backs the trailer up with the boat and new battery, ready to get it into her berth. We got all the cables hooked up to test it out before we put her in the water. We had spark, ethanol free fuel and plenty of crank from the battery. But the Chevy engine wouldn’t turn over. After using up one of this summer’s rare, sunny days with nothing to show for the effort, it could have been an excuse to bark off some choice words of disappointment and ‘wasted time’. Instead, Eric looks at me with a sincere smile on his face and says:

“Welcome to the boating life, Bill. You just have to embrace it.”

“Embrace it”. While I’ve always loved patient care, I’ve also taken on the challenge of running this business. Some years ago, struggling with all the different challenges that entails, I learned about the fundamental rule that relates to all areas of our lives. You have to ‘take’ the whole experience of life. It’s not just ‘tolerating’ it, but ‘reaching’ for it. The things that aren’t going as planned, aren’t working out, or feeling inconvenient or downright uncomfortable, are precisely the things we need to confront. Finding solutions or new ways to approach challenges holds some of the richness of life.

Writing this piece made me realize that my great satisfaction in patient care work comes out of the problem-solving nature of the job along with leaving people upbeat as we work together to restore their abilities, ease their pain and leave them with a little more self-confidence. What I didn’t realize back then was that, while running the business was unfamiliar and required different skill sets, it required the same fundamental approach.

“It’s all about finding meaning and satisfaction with the experience. Not by just tolerating the experience, but reaching for it.”

Whether it’s with interpersonal relations with colleagues, challenges with finance, and even matters of our own physical and emotional health, confronting life challenges consistently is one skill that makes us more and more able. It’s all about finding meaning and satisfaction with the experience. Not by just tolerating the experience, but reaching for it. Eric’s smile said it all to me that day. Welcome to (boating) life. You have to embrace it. 


Best wishes,


This article first appeared in the September 2023 Cioffredi & Associates Newsletter. Read more here:


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