“Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger.”
A lot has happened in the last week or so. Moments of sorrow, worry, longing and deep reflection. Emails sent and received, words that were needed despite the moments of weakness they brought. This post is about an email I received a couple days ago that felt like a blow to the stomach, the wind pulled from my sails in just a few words. I felt a strong urge to give up, walk away from my dream. This I cannot do, I will not close the wall up with my dead dreams.
I have been conversing with a sailboat designer I met when calling around for advise on the restructuring/reinforcing of my boat. Tom has been so giving in his knowledge, so patient with the endless questions from a untested and inexperienced sailor. He gave meaning to the stories I have been told of the brotherhood of sailors and the camaraderie of like minds. As I reflect on our conversations, I think he was carefully guiding me down a path I could not see, adapting my thoughts to arrive at a hard truth. I think he was trying to bring me down to earth and get me to fully understand my own goals and the path to them. And where does that path lead? It leads to me selling my boat.
All the talk, all the effort, all the plans were dashed on the rocks of reality in that email. Not by what was written, but by the realization I was shorting myself with the boat I purchased. I knew this boat was not able to carry me to my ultimate dream, not suitable for open ocean passages. I had hoped to adapt it to a smaller dream in the name of expediting my goals. I was willing to give up part of my dream to get away sooner instead of waiting till I had saved the funds for a real world cruiser. I understand now how much I was giving up. Not just the open ocean, not the chance at seeing other countries, I was giving up on myself.
Depression and low self esteem have the effect of holding one down, bridling ones dreams with feelings of self imposed restrictions based on some unseen willingness to let difficulties weigh us down. The shackles of self doubt are heavy and burdensome and must be shed to arrive at the true meaning of ones life. Sometimes we must find the patience of a saint and harness it to the back of a soldier. Steadfast and determined to reach the pinnacle and follow what is in your heart should be the ultimate goal for all of us.
I am not giving up my dream, just following the lesson that email gave me. The best things in life are never free, nor do they come quickly. There is a cost to anything in life whether good or bad, and my goal requires patience. I will remain unfettered and unrestrained for the next year or two, work crazy hours and long work weeks. I will bow my head to the wind and push on with the vision that I started with.
Sailing to the south seas, anchoring off the Solomon Islands and walking the shores where so many from both sides died in the name of their country. Quiet reverence for those like my father who knew not why they were there, only what they must do to survive. We who have never been in such a place can only wonder how it felt, try to picture the the horror of combat. Those who have been can never forget what we cannot fathom. I wish to pay my meager tribute to them and say, Thank You for your service.
I hope someday to bring veterans on my boat and share some time with them. Those with PTSD should be shown great respect for the troubles they have seen. I will try to give them at least some peace, even if only for awhile, to show how much I care. I wasted my childhood but I am determined to make up for lost time. I will imitate the action of the tiger, and I will succeed!