"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time."
This Andre Gide quote hit so hard (in a good way) when I saw it this Fall. In the four years since I left my day job I've been oblivious, ambivalent, angry, terrified, resigned and finally energized about the long ocean voyage that my life change requires of me.
When I first left the corporate world, I imagined nothing more than a little shift - I wasn't getting on a boat to go into uncharted seas! Maybe moving from a nice high rise oceanfront condo to a smaller shack right on the beach, but still on the beach, still within reach of everything in the beach town. That what I thought my change was going to be! But the water had plans for me, so the waves kept lapping up on the shore. I was always falling down in and choking on seawater as I walked on the beach.
In my second year I realized that I had to get out onto the ocean, but I was ambivalent, ill-prepared, pre-occupied and frightened. I got a raft. I kept the shore in sight. I wanted to go back - who wants this much change?? As a result, the waves kept crashing over my raft and me and I kept falling in the cold water and getting soaked.
In my third year I finally realized I had to face the sea, not the shore. But I was building my boat by myself while sailing. I didn't know how to build a boat, I didn't know how to sail, I didn't know to prepare for an ocean voyage. I was exhausted, overwhelmed and miserable. And pretty mad. I was too far from shore to go back, but this boat construction and sailing thing was much much more than I bargained for.
In my fourth year I finally learned how to sail my boat. I got equipment - strong sails and an engine. I found help - I was no longer alone on my voyage. I've met other travelers on their own voyages. I learned to be comfortable on my boat, and became used to seeing only the vast blue ocean wherever I looked.
Now, as my fifth year is underway, I don't even remember the shore. But I don't miss it. I have no idea where my boat will ultimately go, or if I'll be sailing forever. But it's not about trying to control the ocean. It's about the voyage. I now live quite contentedly on my boat. It is both strong and supple enough to carry my crew and me through any storm. The sunrises and sunsets on the ocean are ravishing. We meet amazing people along the way!
I'll see you when you get out here . . .
Winter Solstice 2017