Sunday, May 6, 2012

Concrete Jungle....

Just got back after a week in NY.  It sure was chilly up there!  The reason for the unexpected trip was mainly due to car problems.  The pickup truck that we drove down here was not doing so well.  And after bringing the car to the mechanic at least once a month for random repairs, we decided after discovering that our power steering was leaking, that it just wasn't worth the money and time needed to fix her up.  We didn't want to continuously throw money at a beat up car, and luckily for us, my generous brother took pity on us and offered to give us his old off to NY we went.  It was a surprise to our friends and family as we didn't tell anyone, except my brother, that we were coming.

We flew up last week and had a whirlwind trip visiting everyone.  The time flew by and it was really really nice to see them.  Being back there made me realize how much my relationship with NY has changed.  I know it will always hold a place in my heart because well, that's where I grew up, but visiting it this time felt very different.  It was like coming home with all the smells of the city, the ethnic diversity, the familiarity, the people, but it felt surreal... like a dream.  Seeing the city with new eyes made me realize just how crazy the hustle and bustle really was.  I guess slowing down here has given me a new perspective on what it is that I really want from all of this, and I guess the answer to that is...simplicity.  This idea of Zen through simplifying and getting rid of the need to consume to be happy.  Trying to live life as opposed to just existing.  Getting in touch with nature, with myself, and just finding happiness in the simplest things...sunsets, family, good food, having a place to sleep, being near the ocean, and having a loving partner that I can share all of this with.   I still yearn for all the different cultures that being in big city affords me, and I still feel homesick for my friends and family...I wish they could be a part of this more than I can express. But visiting NY made me realize how easy it is to get caught up with insignificant things...materialism, status, money.  The challenges of working on a boat has taught me a lot more than I had expected and there are definitely moments when it seems like every thing is falling apart, that we just can't catch a break.  These moments are more frequent than I'd like to admit but the promise of this dream is something that keeps us going.

Constantly teetering between feelings of failure and pure elation is really exhausting, and I have to remind myself that I haven't gone crazy, which is much harder to do than you'd think.  I know we're attempting to do something that is so far out of our league and our comfort zone, and at times it feels downright foolish. Buying a boat, fixing it up, getting it safe enough so that we could explore the world, sounds much simpler than it has proven to be.  We've been at this dream now for years, and still see no end in sight.  We've put all of money and resources into this, and gave up everything we knew just to do this. When I think of it like that, it devastates me and makes me want to forget that this dream ever existed.  During these moments, I think of how nice it would be to live a stable life, to be comfortable, to know what tomorrow will bring, to be good at doing something familiar, and not feeling like a failure.  But then when I overcome these little hurtles, like figuring out how to use a multimeter, I realize that it has been more rewarding than anything I've ever taken on.  This feeling of accomplishment, of conquering these fears and challenges, and discovering something new about myself...these are the moments that I cherish.  These are moments that I remind myself of when I'm spelunking through our anchor locker, covered in fiberglass, or dripping sweat as I'm lodged under our lazarette trying to remove a stupid bolt.  These are the moments I think of when I'm handing over my week's paycheck to buy a new roller furler, or when I see a fleeting look of despair run across my husband's face as he's trying to problem solve the back pressure issue in our exhaust system...I think to myself, just keep going, because if it were easy, everyone would be doing it.  People ask us all the time how we can afford this, how we can be so young and in this lifestyle, and my reply to them is always, how do you afford to buy a house?   That's really the only answer I can give.  I didn't choose a nice house with a white picket fence and a garden, nor do I have a 401K steadily accruing interest, or even a guarantee that tomorrow won't end in total ruin, that I could stand to lose everything over a leaky thru-hull, instead I chose to live. How does anyone afford anything they want from life?  I guess by giving up everything they have to get what they want.