Matt & Emily
Some of my very first memories were when I was only two or three, sailing on a Catalina 22 on the San Francisco Bay with my family. Then ocean fishing with my grandfather. My grandfather truly liked to go fishing, not just for the fishing aspect because he would give almost all the fish away, he just loved the ocean.
There becomes a time in one’s life that one begins to question his/her existence and everything that one has done. Why do I go to work each day? Am I truly happy living how I live? Am I doing what I want to do or doing what society dictates I should? When I’m gone what impact will I have had? How will people remember me and what might they say? Did I truly live life to the fullest or did I miss out on something that I could or should have done? These are the questions I asked myself when I was faced with the possibility of a shortened life.
My wakeup call came unexpectedly when I lost feeling in my fingertips one evening. Over the next two weeks numbness spread to the entire left side of my body. My left arm became useless and I was unable to do the simple daily tasks I once took for granted, like tying my shoes, getting dressed or anything that required two hands. Perhaps I had an inoperable brain tumor. I feared the worst. How long did I have to live? When I got the news that I was tumor free, I had tears of joy. My diagnosis wasn’t the best by any means, but I’d live and I’d live like never before.
The stage has now been set and my life choices have never been so clear. I will do the things I’ve dreamed of doing, live the way I choose, visit places that I’ve only seen in pictures, and open myself to make lots of new friends in the process.
As long as I can remember I’ve been around boats.
It hadn’t really occurred to me just how much so until I wrote this.
It is funny how things come full circle.
I’ve been very fortunate and have had a great life. People who know me know my dedication and drive for anything I’ve ever set out to do. Once I set my mind to do something, it becomes a passion and then there is no turning back for me. It’s like I’m on a quest.
I traded my college opportunities for a fast track into the workforce with gigantic dreams of making it big in life. I learned a good trade and was able to be self employed for the past 25 years, raised 2 beautiful girls, and had no problems keeping up with the Jones’s. I achieved that american dream from the 1950’s. I had a nice house in a good neighborhood with neighbors and even a dog. I am at the point in my life where I have accomplished pretty much everything I’d ever set out to do. That particular quest is over.
Like most people I thought success was about having lots of money in the bank and toys, but I really was unsatisfied with what I had and what I had become. I now found myself not liking sitting in traffic to do to a job I no longer had any passion for. Sure I could continue just making money. I became quite good at it, and the more I did it, the easier it became to just do it and be complacent in life.
I began to realize that happiness was not necessarily measured by the amount of money in your bank account or how many possessions one had. I now thought about the things I had obtained and realized that they didn’t really make me any happier. Matter of fact they just created more stress to maintain them.
Who knows how long you have. Life can be short and even unfair at times. I’m realizing that I only have limited time to experience life and I no longer choose to spend doing the things people tell me that I should be doing. I am ready for a complete life change. A different scenery, culture, food, and way of life. I’m looking forward to saying goodbye to freeway congestion, urban sprawl, and getting off the grid. I am counting the days till I can finally get out of Dodge.
With years of fresh water boating under my belt, I’m now ready to trade one set of skills for another. There is something about the freedom that sailing provides when the motor is finally shut off and all you hear is the sound of the water and feel the wind on your face. You are unplugged. You can go any where the wind takes you. The destinations are seemingly endless.
I look forward to the day I can fall asleep to the gentle rock of the sea and wake to the water splashing the hull. I look forward to being able to catch my dinner and appreciate that on every level. My adventure is just about to begin and I’m thankful for life. I’m going to change in ways I can’t even imagine.
I am an observer and a traveler. I love travel but I don’t long to be someplace else. I am never without things of interest right where I am. The world is so full and rich. I love the idea of experiencing what the world offers. Seeing it, feeling it.
I once followed an ant for I’d say 20 minutes, maybe 50 feet, until it tucked away somewhere to where I couldn’t see it anymore. And, I loved it. I saw this little ant go a great distance in that time and navigate its way through dips and dead ends, making decisions. It was analyzing. It truly was an awesome thing to watch and I have a new respect for ants because of it. That day, ants became real to me. They became beings with purpose and now have my respect and, yes, admiration. So it is like that, observing connects me and I like that. The more I travel, the more I observe, the bigger my heart gets.
That being said, I love observing and the exploration and adventure that comes along with that, but I am not a thrill seeker. I’ll watch you, lol, but no, I do not enjoy being in places I shouldn’t and doing things that are seemingly unnatural or dangerous. I don’t enjoy conquering mountains… or seas for that matter. I don’t enjoy pushing myself to extreme for these causes, although I understand the allure. I have a champion’s drive.
To be honest, the ocean has always been a little scary for me. I don’t have gills, hence, unnatural, so sailing would typically fall into this category of dangerous endeavors for me. In order to override this inherent safety feature, I am learning how to sail and everything and anything else that I can to prepare myself. I am looking forward to letting go of my fears and enjoying how the other half lives (literally I guess, lol).
I was born and raised in New Jersey. Before you start thinking about the TV show, Jersey Shore, I am from south Jersey. The shore of south Jersey. It is very beachy, littered with marinas down the coast line. Boardwalks, sand, seagulls, cute little sandpipers, crabs, and the little huts serving clam chowder are a part of me… in my blood, as the saying goes. This is all I have in common with sailing. That’s it. The fact that living at the beach involved an ocean. At the most, I was on a beer barge or tubing or something like that. Does that count? Oh, and a ferry or two, lol. Nothing like sailing. Nothing like land being the second option.
I studied at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, for a long while and let that go to travel the US in an RV. I traveled for 3 years across the US. The US is so diverse! It seems you never see the same thing twice. It was the best experience of my life. The experiences I had and the people I met along the way were amazing and help shape me for the better. You never know how amazing everyone is until you meet them.
I stepped off the road for a long while and had a family. My daughter is beauty-full and wonder-full, all grown up and starting a family of her own! I have had a great life with great people. I really could not have asked for anything more. Again, the best experience of my life. I would never be able to understand the world as I do now without being a mother. I am so thankful for that opportunity. I love you baby!
To my great surprise, I am off again. A new adventure awaits. Interesting to feel like this is the fourth chapter of my life, long chapters, but distinct segments of my life. I can’t wait to read what happens next!
From us both, peace, love, health, and happiness to you and yours!