other stuff


the dread ship twenty-six

15:57 26/03/2009

Another dreaded birthday approaches. What ever happened to the childish joy and anticipation of being one year older; of the hope for sweet things to eat, presents to open and generally an inability to sit still for the sheer exhilaration of what was to come?

Last year, I was 25, this year I am 26. Still in the doldrums of life, but at least I can feel faint breezes against my face.


Again with the sailing metaphors! If you go through some older entries, you’ll find again and again, images of sailing and the sea as a metaphor for my life. I don’t understand where this aquatic tendency comes from, but it does and so it remains.

As I think on it, about six months ago, a persistent image kept occurring to me of everybody being in their own boat, floating down a river and that that was everybody’s life. Born as a helpless baby, being put in their boat, floating down the river of life and then dying, lying in state like Boromir before falling over the edge of a waterfall at the end of their river and from there into the wide open sea.

I thought of myself in my own small canoe. As a child, my parents in their own boats had been on either side of me, piloting my skiff down the river; protecting me, guiding me and teaching me so that when I was old enough I could steer myself.

Though they pushed me off and let me go on my own way, it seems to me that I didn’t take up the tiller. I just went with the flow of the river, letting the currents direct the rudder taking me where they willed, doing each thing that seemed next on life’s To Do list: finishing school, going to college, getting a degree, going travelling, getting a job and so on. Just drifting, not partaking in deciding where I wanted to go, because I didn’t really know where or what that was and then last year I did.

It’s not that I didn’t know before, more that I didn’t think it possible and that I was too damn lazy, too scared, too lacking in spirit or ambition to commit to the idea of it and to pursue that dream. Drifting has its purpose and its time, but it can stifle and stagnate becoming a disease. The movie Office Space used to inspire me to be a slacker, but I think I missed the point. The main character was a hero to me, but for the wrong reasons. As I think back on it, it was the ending and not the beginning or middle that I should have been paying attention to. The message was not to be a complete waster, doing nothing, the point was to do what made you happy and that slacking off could be a part of that but was not the sole end or the sole means of a good life.

And so my digression has found it’s way back to my original thought. That life goes on, and that I need to steer some course out of these doldrums. I feel a few shore breezes on my cheeks and I can see the islands in the distance with ports to shelter in and people and places to learn from. I can’t afford to wait for a trade wind to blow up and take me out of this place, it’s time to put my back into it and to pull the oars. It’s hard work and the currents of life are pushing against the rudder, but the time for drifting has long since past and I must stick to the tiller, no matter how hard it is to take it up.

In dead doldrums was I stuck
Heave away! Haul away!
For too long out of luck
And I’m bound for life’s adventure.

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