I’ve spent my life coming and going, it never gets any easier saying goodbye. Emily came to me for sailing lessons but it soon became apparent that what she really needed was a life coach. In a few short days I will be nudging her out of the nest and turning her loose on the world, her world.
At the tender age of 25 Emily was lost, walking a fine line between being a migrant worker working hand to mouth and being a college grad with student debt and an obvious need to enter the so called real world and become a socially responsible drone worker. Reading through Sanjuansufficiency I found a link titled Everyone I know is brokenhearted, it hit the nail on the head.
In another life we had a term called slap them and hug them. The point was to be completely honest and direct pointing out in no uncertain terms what the exact situation is “you’re fucked, nobody fucked you, you fucked yourself…now deal with it”, no coddling here. The second step once you’ve got their undivided attention is to take them gently by the had and lead them to a better life. Emily has been a excellent student of life and will continue to follow her heart and work as a migrant seasonal worker. Before her 26th birthday she will be debt free and living on her dream boat a Pacific Seacraft Flicka. She rarely makes more than minimum wage but that usually comes with room and board. Even on her miserable income she is free and will earn enough to pay cash for her new home and become her own captian.
More than anything Emily wants to write and time and time again I had to be the tough editor telling her to go back to the drawing board. Finally in a fit of frustration I sat her down and asked her what the hell she was writing about. My story is mine and you can’t have it, I told her in no uncertain terms. I sent her to the bow with a pencil and pad of paper and asked her to figure out who she was and to find her own story. Below is her first attempt after a thousand drafts of looking in the mirror and for the first time ever being honest with her dreams. We all have a story, whats yours?
Pretending to live aboard is a lot like playing house. You cook and clean up in the tiny galley, you pee in a bucket at night and walk the dog in the morning. Despite the blackberries in full force where you poop the dog, the way the dock feels at different times of the day on your bare feet, and the way the marina bathroom always seems to feel so clean and inviting, it is not your boat, your dog, your slip or your life. You will not know what to do if the boat catches on fire from leaving the old batteries plugged in or from cooking on the butane camp stove. You will not feel the pangs when someone ashes their cigarette accidentally in the cockpit. Your face will not drop when someone brushes against your fresh coat of varnish. You will never be responsible for something that isn’t yours.
Spending so much time on someone else’s boat means that everyone you meet will assume it is yours. People will start seeing you day after day and think you live there, permanently. After a certain amount of time you might just stop correcting them. You might start using terms like, “us, we, ours.” But it will never be yours.
I’ve always said it’s dangerous to be in love with the idea of someone. There’s nothing wrong with being in love with a lifestyle, but make sure it’s your lifestyle. Make sure it’s your hard work that got you on that boat. Whether it’s the prettiest boat in the harbor or the biggest hunk of shit, make sure it’s yours. Make sure it’s your story you’re telling. ~Emily Greenberg
Grasshopper, when you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.