For many people, tired of working for a living, the idea of retirement springs forth thoughts of Freedom to do whatever you’ve been wishing you had enough time to do. For some, retirement means a continuation of what one does on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis except without the need to go to work. These people have hobbies and a large family or circle of friends which occupy their time now even more than ever.
For me it meant the opportunity to do something I had never done before.
I sold my house and moved onto a sailboat. The idea was to cruise, first to the Bahamas and then the Greater and Lesser Antilles, all the way to Trinidad. This would take two years and then I would reassess the Journey and make a decision about the future.
Yacht "Half Moon" - Pearson 424...42'4", 1979 vintage.
highly modified...normally a ketch, this one was converted into a sloop.
It was given a new engine in 1999 and extensively refit at that time.
Fully loaded with equipment for off shore sailing...water maker, radar, SSB radio, on and on......
I started in March 2006, from Beaufort NC. I had bought my sailboat the previous summer, while vacationing in the Cape Hatteras area and had put it in storage until I was retired and ready to go...
Little did I know that the Journey would be life altering. Little did I know what lay ahead.
It’s interesting to note the reactions of people when I told them of my plans to sell everything and move onto a sailboat. These reactions reflect the paradigms that exist. It’s amazing to realize how wrong people can be with their perceptions and conclusions.
In my experience, I have found that without a substantial, almost daily living of the experience, knowledge about the situation is distorted and substantially incorrect. I have learned a lot about the Plastics Industry and Polyurethanes in particular, but it took working in the Industry 35 years.
So you can imagine all my misperceptions about sailing and living aboard a sailboat.
It is a substantial change in lifestyle from living in a house with all its conveniences, to living on a boat with all its inconveniences but freedom to travel from place to place.
The conflict between the negatives and positives created a dynamic tension which fed self awareness. Sailing life can be a humbling experience. Being outside your area of expertise requires a strong will to not feel foolish, incompetent and weak. It’s a learning experience. It requires a person to become very self reliant. That’s a good thing because self reliance is needed for many functions in Life, not just sailing.
So let’s list some of my positive views starting out.
- The most important reason to live on a sailboat - a sailboat will allow me to visit a lot of different places, such as the Bahamas and the Caribbean islands. Maybe even sail to Europe or the South Pacific.
- I don’t have to worry about grass, or snow removal.
- There’s something really cozy about living in a small area.
- It forces you to become more self reliant.
- You can live more cheaply, maybe. But a boat depreciates while a house goes up in value. Well, not always.
- Weather…Hurricanes!!!! Being so much at the mercy of weather. It’s a real loss of control.
- Boredom, the selection of things to do is limited. Not having a car is a limitation.
- Maintenance of the boat is tedious work.
I think an overall statement can be made that the cruising life is full of uncertainty, change is continuous. The ability to adapt to change and learn new skills is vital. Good health, strong discipline, agility, and the ability to get along with one’s mate, are the key ingredients necessary to succeed in this lifestyle.
Being close to Nature has been an important consideration for me. I’ve always felt joy when close to Nature , and, stress when in the city. The other alternative for me was to buy a small farm. A small farm works for me. A few horses, some chickens and growing fruits and vegetables , appeals to me a lot.
Farm/land vs. boat/water.
Rooted vs. nomad
Nothing needs to be permanent.
But if I don’t sail now, I never will. Ageing is my enemy with this lifestyle.
In reality, I am a klutz. I have to accept that fact. Just like I’ve accepted that I’m not athletic. I’m not mechanically minded either. I’m not agile. I don’t think in mechanical terms. I think in abstract concepts. I can look at things and figure out strategies. I can figure out probabilities... That’s the reality. Anything else is fantasy, wishful thinking. I can grow a beard, but that doesn’t make me a sailor. I can sail a boat, but that still doesn’t make me a sailor, only in the eyes of the unfamiliar will I pass for a sailor. But if being handy, and mechanically minded is a prerequisite for being a true sailor, then I’m not and never will be, a true sailor. I can not transform myself into someone I’m not. I’ll never be mechanical, athletic, or even a great dancer. I have to accept that as reality.
A great baseball pitcher is not a great home run hitter. He accepts that fact and is Self Actualized when he accepts himself for who he is. Why not accept that I’m good at some things and not good at other things?
So maybe this is what this trip is all about.
Dealing with who am I really and accepting who I am.
Maybe that's it for my first mate, Becky, too.
Accepting who I am.
I have made a decision to cruise. At this point in time it’s premature to evaluate whether the decision was a good one. The results are not in yet. But, it’s a certainty that the results will not be satisfying if my actions are not correct… “garbage in, garbage out”. If I am to enjoy this lifestyle, I need to be good at many things which, so far, is new and outside my comfort zone based on previous experience. Hence, the question is really about change and which should change, the goal or the underlying precondition? Applied to the cruising lifestyle, the question would be posed this way: Should I be a Sailor if I am not mechanically handy or should I become mechanically handy so that I can be a Sailor?
When I was Director of the Polyurethanes Business, I had 60 Technical Service people in my Organization. I was impressed by the way these people gravitated towards being either great at servicing equipment related problems, or, they were great at formulating new products. Realizing that people excelled in one or the other and almost never in both, allowed me to create an organization where people could specialize in one activity and therefore be very effective and efficient with their time.
This leads me to believe that people are genetically predisposed to mechanical vs. conceptual ability. The Chemist or the Engineer. When I enrolled in University, it was to become an Engineer. But I quickly found out that I hated the rigidity, the need for discipline, the attention to detail and the minutia. I loved Chemistry, especially theoretical chemistry. I didn’t like the lab work, and I especially didn’t like writing the reports. I loved the idea of chemistry and the principles underlying the process of chemical reactions.
I realized that this was a continuation of past patterns which I could identify stemming from early childhood. I could not remember any time when I gravitated towards anything mechanical. I didn’t even play with my Mechano set when I was given one as a present. So why would I enjoy changing the water pump on my diesel engine?
But is this trait really a genetic predisposition? Or, did early successes and failures mold the future direction of interests and therefore increasing ability and inability? If the latter, then weak areas can be addressed and substantially improved. If the former, then some improvement can still be realized, but a dependence on strategy and tactics to compensate for weaknesses would be important. I don’t really know which is correct. I believe such traits as musical ability and athletic ability are mostly genetic, but I’m not sure if mechanical ability is genetic or learned. I am sure that some learning, and therefore improvement, can take place. I can enjoy a lifestyle of cruising regardless because I’m capable of learning. Whether I ever enjoy it is another matter. But I am capable of becoming better than I am currently and I’m capable of enjoying cruising as a consequence of achieving a greater capability than the level where I am now.
It continues to be hot and somewhat boring. I’m increasingly getting concerned about alcoholism. Why do boaters drink so much? Why do we drink everyday? I don’t think this is healthy. I intend to stop drinking everyday, even if it means stopping completely.
Is it due to boredom?
It’s a very different lifestyle to be with someone 24/7 compared to when you are gone all day and you see each other evenings and weekends. All the faults become magnified.
Ignorance is bliss… someone said that and it stuck. There is some truth to that. Maybe that is why some people prefer not to discuss weighty subjects. Island Time may offer a return to the simple life, to a life where the day is filled with simple tasks, such as provisioning, cooking, fixing, cleaning, swimming, traveling, anchoring, having a drink… and so on. No bills to pay, no money to earn, no obligations to others, a sort of return to the womb. It’s appealing to most, especially to the stressed. No TV, no world news, no shootings, no reminders of the stressful life we lead, now past tense. Escape to paradise. Yet disappointment will follow, as boredom and meaningless activity result in a life that is not contributing to God’s Plan. This can work for a few years. A cleansing from the past. A time to reflect and a time to shed old habits, to kick the addictions and to learn new and better behaviors. That is the value of the Journey.
Every man’s path is unique. There is no Plan. There is only a path that is the result of turns taken and turns not taken. A process of continuous change, adaptation and trial and error. Lessons learned, applied or not, mistakes made and remade. At the end of the road is nothingness. There is no final destination. Just ashes to ashes, dust to dust. A few are immortalized by their actions. Most die having affected their children and a few friends. Many times the affect has been negative, a problem which needs to be solved by the younger generation.
As for me, I don’t know what turn I will make next. I do know that I’m happiest when I’m in touch with Nature. I smile when I see birds, dolphins, horses, cats and dogs, beautiful flowers and lush greenery. Snow capped mountains, sprawling fields of wild flowers, the smell of horse sweat, blue lakes, surf in the ocean, the oceans’ salt and decaying marine life. The color of coral and myriads of fish.
This house, this city, is not for me.
I am possessed by my possessions. My desk, my porcelain statues, my books, my clothes, my furniture, my dishes. I need my house to store them all. I need my house to have a place called “my home”. My roots need to be deep and not subject to winds which could blow me away….away into nothingness and nobody ness.
This house is my footprint on the earth.
I sail but I am not a sailor.
Sailing is a mode of transportation and a means to experience the ocean and the coral reefs that I love so much.
Sailing is like skiing or horseback riding…a recreation.
Can it become a lifestyle?
Can I become a sailor?
Time will tell.
Most people grow up in a neighborhood chosen by their parents, get a job, and live where they work. Some people move because their job forces them. Some people quit their job when that happens, choosing to stay where friends and family have become priority.
Few people choose a place and then look for work there. But when one retires and work no longer is the driver, where does one choose to live? Usually, people want to remain close to their children and grandchildren. But when there are no grandchildren, and the children are far off and still roaming, then what determines where you choose to live?
All Islands are basically the same. Beaches, swimming, some sight seeing, beautiful flowers…etc. Travel needs to include some sailing. We like to sail and we need to sail. We need to travel. This is about travel, sailing, warm weather, simplicity, and escape from mind numbing TV and News. The sailboat has some challenges, maintenance, the sailing itself, and the dealing with weather. All of that can be dealt with and a feeling of self sufficiency and self worth is begotten. Contact with one’s true self is inevitable, and self actualization is possible. It’s cleansing and rejuvenating. A person can be reborn. Time will reveal whether or not this lifestyle is sufficient or if it’s boring. For now, I like it a lot.
Retirement brings new challenges to the need for goal oriented behavior. Prior, one spends a great deal of time working. To earn a living and save for retirement. Working 50 hours a week requires some down time to relax and restore the batteries so you can go back to work. But after you stop working, what is the goal? I suppose it would be an easy answer to say, stay alive, stay healthy, live to an old age. So activities could be directed at staying stress free, eating and exercising, and enjoying the bounties of the Planet. The sailboat offers the opportunity to travel and experience places I could not readily while employed. But for some reason, I feel guilty, perhaps bored, perhaps a feeling of meaninglessness, whatever that is exactly is hard to describe, but a feeling nonetheless. An “ennui”.
Self discovery is good. Self improvement is good. But this “self” centeredness seems not so good. Is it a conditioned response? A guilt?
Can I look forward to each day even if it means doing virtually nothing? Am I conditioned to feel guilty if I don’t accomplish something meaningful? Or is this an innate need? I just can’t stop thinking that I need to do something more meaningful...something to make this a better world. To give something of myself back. It nags at me.
I look at people who do nothing but get drunk everyday and I feel loathing. I know absolutely that this aspect of the lifestyle is not for me.
Retirement is being free from having to work for a living. Having a lot more “free time”. But what to do with this “free time”. And is time really important? Is time a concept of fiction. Time is measured in sunrises and seasons. But time is infinite. So how important is a day, a week, a year? If importance is to be a form of measurement, then what is important? What makes anything “important”?
In the big scheme, saving the Planet from destruction is "important".
Since humans are the most dangerous predator to the Planet, then educating and motivating humans is "important".
One life is less important than the well being of the Planet, but one life is worth saving if that life is dedicated to saving rather than destroying the Planet.
Each life needs to be examined and each life must take a decision….to be a savior or a destroyer.
You start by saving yourself, by being healthy, and intelligent, and wise.
I distinguish wisdom from intelligence by saying success is 10% idea and 90% execution.
Being intelligent is only the 10%. Knowing how to effectively apply that intelligence is wisdom.
This is where I’m failing. I know a lot but I don’t know how to apply it. This needs to become my objective, my goal, and what I will do now with my “free time”.
It’s difficult to find the right way to spend time. After the traveling and provisioning, the swimming and cleaning and eating and planning and reading, there isn’t much time left in a day. But the guilt is there, the guilt that I am not doing something meaningful. I’m not solving the problems of the World. I see many problems. But I’m not doing anything. Where does action begin? Is picking up trash on the beach a worthwhile activity?
I resent that the very rich can have huge homes here and enjoy the Island, yet what do they give back? They pollute the ocean and destroy the reefs with the runoff of fertilizers from their private golf courses.
Is it envy?
Am I lazy?
Do I really care?
When am I happiest?
A loving partner, a look at anything beautiful. Sunsets, sunrises, waves on the water, fish, coral, birds, a little crab. The feel of wind in the sails. Quiet. A good meal, good sex, a restful sleep.
We should elect people to power who care about the problems of the World, for they have the power to make changes. Individuals have the power to vote. Individuals have the power to not throw garbage onto the beach. Individuals have the power to not kill endangered species, to not buy drugs, to get an education, to learn a skill, to lend a helping hand.
It may be just that simple after all. The Individual need not change the world. Just lend a helping hand whenever it’s needed and whenever it’s possible. But the gift of life is a gift, not a debt.
Enjoy life, be good.
For me, this means travel, swim, see. Eat well, sleep well, be happy, loving, caring. Live life fully.
Do not wait for death, do not fear that which is not dangerous.
Be Free, free from all addictions.
Yes, I may.
There are many types of sailors/boaters here. There are those who use their boats as a means of transportation with a built in home. These fall into three classes. Those who are tourists and are short term travelers, those who are tourists and are long term travelers, and those who are true travelers. The latter are a restless kind looking for something. Then there are those who are not travelers but rather just use their boats as a floating home, cheap waterfront property. There are many of these here in the Hope Town Harbor. These more often are power boaters, though many have sailboats. Some end up buying property and they still participate in the “cruisers net”.
Among the travelers, there are Nomads, true travelers with virtually no possessions other than their sailboat. They are happiest when moving. But not all travelers are Nomads. Some travel to see places and to discover where they wish to settle down. It is this group to which I belong.
There are days when I really wonder about this lifestyle. Though I love to snorkel, the novelty is wearing off and there is no longer the excitement I once felt. It’s replaced with a sense of contentment and satisfaction for being in a warm climate and not freezing in the North.
Boredom and too much alcohol consumption continues to concern me.
I look forward to sailing, off to the DR and PR and then the Eastern Caribbean. But at the same time I have some fears about my health, my strength, and my ability to deal with adverse weather. That, coupled with my frustration over mounting losses in the stock market, leaves me feeling not very happy.
I am not on vacation.
I am retired, I don’t need to work, but my home is my boat. I live like a person on land except that I live on a boat. That boat allows me to move to another anchorage if I am no longer satisfied where I am. I do like to travel, to sail when the weather and sea conditions are excellent. But I am not a tourist. Forts, museums and so on do not really appeal to me. I live an existence to eat, sleep, love and just enjoy the sunrises and sunsets. I enjoy learning about what makes things work well, especially as it applies to people and their behavior. I’d like to write a book and contribute to society in some small but meaningful way.
I have had a good life, not free of stress, not free of sadness, disappointments, failures, mistakes, and confusions. A good life nevertheless. I measure success by measuring my sense of freedom. Freedom to be who I am and not a slave to another person, drug, or bad habits like gambling, adulterous behavior, lying and cheating. In that measure I have been successful enough, good enough, not perfect, not flawless, but good enough. I am basically happy, content that even with a cup half full, I can enjoy it’s contents without regret that it is only half full, or envy for others; whose cup may be overflowing. I don’t feel poor when I find myself next to others with nicer, newer boats. It is a wonderful feeling to be free from the chains of envy.
So, I have become what the cruisers call “a live-a-board”. Cheap waterfront property, in Paradise. For Becky, that is not what she wants. She wants to be a tourist and a sailor. But she has found that being a tourist is not something one can do for a long time. And, sailing the oceans is not like sailing a small lake. The oceans are capricious, dangerous, and not very cooperative. Boats break down and the consequences are far more significant and debilitating than breakdowns in a house. The mere chore of provisioning food and parts for the boat is a challenge, a hassle and difficult in many places. Wind becomes as much an enemy as a friend, and many times a much more severe adversary than one can handle. Hurricanes and the threat of hurricanes dampen ones’ enjoyment of living on a boat for almost 5 out of 12 months of the year. That is almost half of the time. High winds or low winds, winds from the wrong direction, all contribute to frustrations and a feeling that one is not in control. Many times you feel stuck, waiting for the right winds and sea state.
So, what is good about this lifestyle? Not very much, according to Becky and she has decided to move back on land.
As for me, I like it. I like being on the water with no grass to mow no snow to shovel, no neighbors if I choose. No traffic and cars to avoid. I like the warm weather and cooler breezes at night. I have yet to discover whether I like it as much or better if I live alone, however. Time is needed.
I may give it up too. It may be that I find myself to be too remote from people with whom I wish to be with.
One thing that happened to me, I’m not sure when it started, is that I have come to be very close to God. I can listen and hear Him, and He helps me when I am confused. He sends messengers and I have learned how to listen and hear the message. This has helped me immensely numerous times. Now is such a time.
He has sent me three messengers.
One said…..”it’s all about money for women. Spend enough on them and they will be happy”. “ After all, sex will soon become unnecessary. I have my own interests apart from hers and I can pursue them and she hers’. We are together and we are apart”.
The other said……“we live six months in our home and six months on our boat. We have stored our boat in Antigua the past 8 years and are very happy.”
The third said……“I have found that after the romancing and the courting is over, relationships either continue to improve or they deteriorate and end up failing to be sustained.” “Ours has continued to improve over the past 30 years.”
So what consequences should I infer from these messages?
The first is that a foundation is critical if one is to build a house that can be sustained. That is the meaning of the third message.
The second is that too much of anything can lead to boredom. Variety is important. That is the message from the first and second messengers.
The third is that if you find yourself with a partner that does not quite fit with your plans and desires, if you have enough money, you can still satisfy both persons needs. That is the message from the first messenger.
The foundation for a successful partnership with another person consists of three essential ingredients:
- Love and affection
- An intelligent, rational, unemotional problem solving procedure to resolve conflicts.
- A focus solely on ones’ own behavior and not a critical approach to your partners’ shortcomings.
Becky and I failed in our relationship because we failed to have the last 2 ingredients in our daily recipe of actions.
But sometimes it takes more than two attempts to get it right.
I believe I can do #2, but only with a partner who can do it also, because it is too frustrating to do it without reciprocation. That frustration leads to a breakdown and then sarcasm and anger becomes the resulting behavior.
Number 3 is tricky, similar to #2, it’s like a dance. We must both do the Tango or else it doesn’t work. Some people are poor dancers. They are best at dancing by themselves, hence the popularity of today’s forms of dances, gyrating on the dance floor, near your partner but not leading your partner. This form of dance reflects a kind of selfishness and an independence from, rather than a dependence on, each other. Yet, the irony is that these same, so called independent people, are very much dependent on the other for security and self esteem. And no one wants to be dependent on someone who is weak or untrustworthy. Hence, the difficulty to achieve #3.
I am no longer a cruiser. I’m a live aboard, a harbor rat. So what do live a boards do?
They do what live on land in a house do. Except they have different maintenance tasks. I need to get to know the island and it’s offerings. I’ll rent a car from time to time. Find where I can meet people. Go to a gym, a movie, restaurants, bars, sporting events, and whatever else I may think of and is available. On the boat, I write, read, eat, sleep. Maybe I can get TV reception? I plan to write a lot.
There are many kinds of sailors. Some are day sailors, others sail weekends, some even go away for vacation, a week or two at a time. But when you retire, you now have the opportunity to sail a lot. You can become a full time cruiser. A cruiser visits many places, and uses his boat as a home. It’s like owning an RV and seeing the whole country over an extended period of time. Some cruisers cruise for 6 months and return home for the other six months. Many of these cruise southern waters in the winter and return home for the summer. That way they also deal with having the boat and themselves in a safe place for the summer hurricane season which, officially, is June 1 to Nov 30. Still others go on a longer journey and cruise the whole year round. These have to figure out a strategy to be in a safe place for the hurricane season.
It is this latter type that I thought I was in. We cruised for 2 years, starting in Beaufort N.C. mid March 2006. We summered at a marina in Charleston, S.C for that first summer. It was a long 4 months in a marina, hot, and somewhat boring. But we had A/C and at that time we had a vehicle with which to get around and my house in Detroit was still up for sale, so we needed to stay reasonably close.
We sailed to the Bahamas and spent the winter there, ending up in Luperon, Dominican Republic for the 4 months of the 2007 hurricane season. Again, it was hot, and boring. But we made it without experiencing the horrors of a hurricane. Luperon is a very safe hurricane hole. Once we left, it was very nice, except we could not sail much. Heading east while the trade winds blow, from the east, is difficult, so we motored a lot. Puerto Rico was great as was the Virgin Islands. We had some mechanical problems which took some of the sailing and visiting days away from us as we tended to those issues. Eventually we made it to St.Martin, then St.Barth, St.Kitts, Nevis, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, and finally, now we are in Antigua.
The question is when does a cruiser become a live a board?
We enjoyed visiting the islands, renting a car and truly seeing these places, but in the end, we did not spend our time like tourists on vacation. The islands started to resemble each other, similar beaches, similar botanical gardens, rain forests, etc. In short, the drudgery of provisioning, the endless waiting for a good weather window, reading, writing, eating, sleeping ( when the harbor was not rolling), all these factors added up to boredom out weighing the excitement of reaching a new destination. So let’s face it, we have become live a boards. We have no house as it sold last year, so our boat is our home.
The situation has changed dramatically for me. Becky, my first mate, does not want to be a live a board. She has decided to go back to land and has taken a one way ticket back to Dallas. She has a sister living there.
I will stay with the boat. One of the issues of living in a space as small as a sailboat 24/7, for 2 years with virtually no time away from each other, is that the stresses of the lifestyle is released mainly through actions directed at your partner. My frustrations and resulting anger gets vented in her direction, hers’ in mine. She complained a lot, criticized many aspects of this lifestyle and in so doing dampened what pleasures we could have obtained by casting a dark cloud over most everything. I did not react well to that. We argued and fought too much. So now it’s over, and I am alone, in Antigua, the bulls’ eye for the hurricanes crossing the Atlantic, from Africa.
So a live a board in Antigua, with plans to go to Grenada, probably. Time will tell how this unfolds, but no doubt it will unfold as it should.
How do I spend the day? A typical day goes something like this.
I get up in the morning and make coffee, read the morning news. I write for 30-60 minutes, I swim for 30 minutes and then shower off. Go into town and buy some provisions. Come back and read the noon update for the news. Have lunch. Read a book for one hour, take a small nap. Catch the mid afternoon news and closing stock market action. Make supper, read for an hour, catch up on e-mails, go to sleep.
On weekends, I’ll go to the beaches.
What a Life!!
How ridiculous is this? I am a homeless person living on a boat. I can not sail it by myself, or, I can sail it but I risk a lot and I may have problems anchoring it. But others do it. So can I. But I do not even know where I want to sail to? And when I get there will I want to stay? If I want to go on the hard I need help to maneuver the boat into the cradle. And if I go on the hard where will I live?
The boating life is not a good life if you are a couple and you are both very independent. Having a house means one can come and go. One can have a garden the other can work out at a gym, for example. But boating is just too intense, too confining and too limited. It was ok as an experiment for 2 years. Though one could argue that it was far from great.
You live where you work. Some people work where they live. They choose a place or the place chooses them. Sometimes people just won’t move from the place they were born. They have family and friends there and they won’t leave them behind. So they look for work where they live.
I don’t work anymore.
I had planned to live near Flamboro because I thought that I wanted to train horses and race horses. But those plans got derailed and I went cruising instead. I live on a boat because I am a cruiser. But now I’m no longer cruising, so I am a live a board, a homeless person because I sold everything to go cruising.
So what is my activity now?
I have two choices. I can remain a live a board, continue to read and write and be alone. I might make some friends over a period of time if I stay in one place long enough. Some old friends may even come for a visit.
I could try to volunteer my services and consult. I could place an ad somewhere and consult to businesses or private individuals. I’m not sure about the laws regarding working in a country such as Antigua or Grenada. I need to find out.
I live on a boat. So I can either find work that is compatible with living on a boat, or sell the boat and live where I have work I can do. So what comes first, the chicken or the egg?
Do I first choose where I live and then find work, or choose work and decide where to do it?
That is a big problem because I am already here on a boat, but I have no work. Or I have one interest, training horses, but I am far from living where I could train horses. And where I could train horses, Canada, is a very poor place to live from a climate and taxation standpoint. Plus I could lose a lot of money.
On the other hand, I have the boat. I like the Caribbean area, taxation and cost issues are favorable. But I am alone, for now, and have no idea what I could do to motivate me and keep me busy. I know I can read and write, mainly write, and swim, and just the chores of provisioning and maintenance is quite time consuming.
I should try continuing to live on the boat. I am here now and can always give it up, but if I quit now, I will never come back to it. Pursue it to a conclusion. That conclusion may occur soon, or later. But I won’t know unless I pursue it.
I miss Becky.
I know she is the love of my life. I have loved her, but I have also been afraid, and fear is the biggest single reason people don’t move forward. She is a wonderful person, but I fear that she is too critical, judgmental, bossy, and not supportive with her love. Her love is very conditional, and , that , together with binge drinking, scares the heck out of me. I think that fear caused me to remain aloof to a degree, and not want to get married. But the excessive drinking is probably the one thing I fear most and how can I be assured that marriage would solve anything?
I think I pushed her away to see how strong is her love for me and would she make an attempt to change in order to keep me. I got my answer - NO! She left me and now here I am high and dry.
It is clear that I can not live like this. Something has to change. I can’t be on the computer all day and be lying around doing very little of anything important. I need a woman in my life, a partner in my Journey. Meanwhile, here I am.
I’d like to figure it out. I think if I just keep writing my thoughts, truth will emerge.
The truth is that I love her and enjoy her.
The truth is that I like being alone too. With no one telling me what to do.
I’ll write as much as possible. I’ll listen to my heartbeat and try to get to know me better. I’ll enjoy the beach, and swimming around the boat, scraping the growth from the bottom. I’ll get involved with the yacht club. I’ll be independent and capable of making myself happy. If this is truly a journey into self discovery, I will be spending a lot of time with myself. I should get to know me well enough.
Now, I am married to my boat. She is a grand old lady with a facelift and a new ( 10 year old ) heart. I do love her. This is a great place to eat, sleep, write and read. Ocean front property. Right in the ocean, actually. I love the freedom of doing whatever I please and when I please, though I don’t please easily.
I am reasonably content.
It is very beautiful here.
I am a good person.
I know I am right when I claim I have the knowledge of what it takes to be happy. It takes three ingredients.
Gratefulness, Forgiveness and Love. That is why I need Becky in my life. Without her I can not be happy.
For I am grateful, I have forgiven, and I need to Love. I Love her, no one else. Without her to Love, happiness is unavailable. What I feel right now is not loneliness, yet I am lonely. What I feel is the loss of Love. I can not feel the Love. It’s like an electric cord that has been disconnected from the wall socket. The current can not flow. The current of Love has stopped. Though I still love her, the love is now contained inside of me, unable to flow. I am damned.
That is the sadness that I feel. That is the happiness I once had that I have lost. I am indeed grieving.
While I did not feel the same feeling when my parents died, it was not because I did not love them. No, I loved them very much, but I had a lot of time to accept their loss, since they were sick with cancer. I felt happiness for their passing because I loved them and wished their suffering to end. I had accepted losing them.
But I can not accept the loss of Becky from my life.
But what is my potential?
Surely it would include the ability to handle stress and criticism without getting angry. Neither at myself nor at my partner.
Surely, it includes an ability to be self sufficient, independent, and mostly, having the ability to find happiness by myself. The ability to not only know what makes me happy but to implement those actions required to attain that state.
Surely it includes the ability to maintain a healthy Body.
It includes the ability to maintain a healthy Mind that continues to learn.
It includes being Good and to follow God’s Plan, including the 10 Commandments and His request to be a teacher.
Let’s play “ If I Had a Million Dollars”. What would change?
I would have a home with a beautiful garden, an oasis in my back yard. I would travel, go on vacations to all inclusive resorts, dude ranches, go skiing in the winter, play a little golf, maybe have a horse or two. Keep Half Moon for sailing the Grenadines, or sailing the Virgins., or sailing the Bahamas.
I can do all of those things with Becky as my partner, but not alone.
I am becoming so sure of what I want. This is a consequence of my increased introspection and connection with my feelings, with my inner Self. It’s wonderful to be so connected. It’s like becoming reborn. I also know what kind of woman I want and what I don’t want. It’s practically impossible to explain. I’ll know for sure this time, but I can tell you that Becky comes awfully close.
And yet I feel disconnected from her now.
If this is indeed a journey into self analysis and the liberation of the Self, I have come a long way. I know much more about who I am and who I’m not. I know much more about the kind of person I am and the kind of person I seek as a life partner. So what now? What is the purpose of continuing to live alone, in this environment, detached from the world of people where I most likely will find a mate? Well, for one, it’s low cost and cheap water front property in wonderful climatic conditions. Second, I still need to develop my sense of self sufficiency. To be independent of a mate that would entertain me, cook for me, and do other tasks. All this could be accomplished on land too, but this is better.
I do need to continue, for a while.
Today, I will continue my walks, and hopefully also my swimming ( bottom cleaning ). I’ll provision again.
I’ll do this all week. But rain is expected today, so it may not be so good to walk and bottom clean, sigh, another day stuck on the boat? We’ll see.
My Journey to Self Actualization has ended. I realized that a couple of days ago. I have achieve what I have considered to be a life long quest. I now know exactly what it is to be Self Actualized. It’s really amazing in its simplicity, yet I know now that I have not experienced this state , this way, ever before in my life. It is the most liberating experience!
But I also realize that the Journey to Self Actualization is not a Journey that ends at a destination. Self Actualization is not a destination, not even a stop along the way. Self Actualization is simply a change in “ comportment” . It’s a state of being that is simply that.. A state, a frame of mind, a freedom to be and not a state of trying to be. But the Journey continues, the future is compelling. But the Journey continues as a Self Actualized person rather than one who is searching for it.
I realized it 2 days ago, during my walk, as I walked up a steep hill, on my way to the beach. I was walking up and feeling the strain of the climb, making me think how much this resembles life itself, a steady climb. Then I reached the crest of the hill and could see the ocean. The magnificent ocean, the beauty of Nature all around me, I had a “peak experience” that moment. At that moment I had a contact with my soul, with my Self, and I felt what it was to be Self Actualized and knew this time, it was going to last forever. And so far, what is normally just a fleeting sensation that lasts only as long as the peak experience, this time it has stayed with me.
I realize also that this time I am free from concern about my Self Esteem. I am very content that I am a good person. Regardless that I have some faults, that I am not the best writer, not the best sailor, not the best musician, not the best lover, not the best cook, not the best mechanic, not even the best business man. But I am the best at being me.
I believe that by adopting the 10 Commandments as my roadmap to Goodness, and by being able to Love, really Love, and be Grateful to be alive, and to have Forgiven all who have brought me pain in the past, I am indeed a Good person , a worthy person, a person who can be counted on to at least try his best. This is why I feel my Self Esteem needs are fulfilled. But the Journey is not over, it is never over because the Destination is only reached when you die. The Journey now is all about being Good, and Living. I will Live now as a free man, free to be ME without regard to whether someone judges me one way or the other because only I can be Judge and I judge myself to be quite OK. I can Live congruent with my real Self, I am not my Persona. My Persona is a tool, like clothing, that I use in certain situations where my Persona is appropriate.
I feel exhilaration.
I feel a freedom that I have never ever in my life felt like this before.
Being Self Actualized brings a feeling that is almost indescribable. It is like a constant feeling of contentment yet that is not what it is. Imagine skiing at the top of the world, in the Alps, and the clouds are beneath you, as well as the town. There is nothing above you other than blue sky and you feel the way the poet Sam McGee expressed it.. You feel you can reach out and touch the face of God. At that moment, you do not think about work, you do not think about whether your wife loves you or criticizes you, you don’t criticize yourself for being inept in certain ways, of lacking skills in anything...no, you are entirely in the present and entirely aware of the pleasure you are experiencing and that is the only thing that you feel and think, and the you that feels all this is the Self, the real and only you. It is the you and not the “you” you would like to be, nor the you that you would like not to be. It’s the you the very real and unique you.
So now this is what I feel all the time, that contact with the real me and that I am the real me.
But this is not a destination, it’s a liberation. It’s like continuing a trip but taking off the jacket that you were wearing because you don’t need it now, the weather is warm and you are continuing your trip without the need of a jacket. Self Esteem is no longer my preoccupation. Living life is my preoccupation now, and Living a life that is congruent with who I am. And I know exactly who I am, who I can Love, what I can do and not do.
Now is the best time of my life.
I am so much looking forward to tomorrow, to continue this Journey.