Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Answer, my Friend, is Blowin' in the Wind....

"We are enriched not by what we possess but what we can do without." ~Immanuel Kant

One of the hardest things about refitting a boat and trying to live your dreams with the one you love is learning to work together as a team.  This doesn't seem to be something that's talked about about on other blogs, but I find it important to address as this is something Frank and I have had to contend with for the past couple of years. Through this venture, we've seen ugly sides of each other that we didn't even know existed within ourselves.  If you think about it, you are in a relatively small space, working day in and day out on very challenging projects together.  When you get into a fight, you don't really have the space you need, and even if you close the bedroom door, chances are you can still hear your partner, on the other side of the door, breathing on the settee 5 feet from you.  You are away from the ones you love, your friends and family, away from your comfort zone, and all you have is each other.  At times, your ego is bruised because you are faced with yet another hurdle that you can't seem to overcome.  You take your frustration out on your partner simply because he/she's there.  You feel shame because everyone in your life has told you that this was crazy, and you start to wonder if they were right.  You start to resent the roles that you have fallen into because you happen to be good at it, and you wonder, why the hell am I doing this?  What am I doing risking everything I have, including my relationship, for this dream that may never happen?  Have I made a big mistake?

Admittedly, I have definitely been there.  Though I have learned that this is all a part of growing up and part of the evolution of a relationship, it doesn't make it any easier.  Before this commitment, Frank and I lived by the seat of our pants.  We satisfied every whim, every curiosity, every desire we've ever had.  If we wanted to just take off and fly somewhere for a week or two, we did.  If we wanted to buy motorcycles and ride for the summer, we did.  If we wanted to go to a fancy restaurant, no problem.  If we felt like driving to some obscure place at 3 in the morning because we were bored, I'd have the car warmed up even before Frank had finished packing.  We had very few limitations, aside from financial ones, because we had only ourselves to think about.  It fueled our relationship, the spontaneity, the indulgence, and it made things interesting and shaped us as a couple.

This is the first time we have been faced with working together and committing to something big.  You quickly learn that it's no longer just about you, and that in order to get what you want, you have to give up the plethora of mini luxuries you allow yourself.  You learn that it's no longer about yourself, about him, even about the relationship, that it's truly about the dream.  You learn that you have to commit to playing the role that you are good at, even if you don't want to, because otherwise you won't succeed.  You try to divide and conquer, even if it means forgoing the things that are important to you, because your partner is doing the same for you.  Hey, if you want it bad enough, you'd pay just about anything for it, right?  I think this applies to all things in life.  Everyone gives something up in pursuit of what they consider happiness.  It is a rite of passage of sorts, a part of becoming an "adult."  Some people give up their time and work 9-5 in pursuit of stability.  Others give up their freedom to raise a family.  And even after all of this, some people will even risk the stability that they've gained from their 9-5s and the comfort of their homes in pursuit of a successful business.  It's human nature to want what's just out of reach.  For us, this means temporarily giving up our family and friends, our personal space, all of our money, and being impulsive just so that we can eventually have the freedom to see the world with no boundaries.  It's suffering now so that we can be rewarded later.  You can't have the good without the bad, and I have been reminded of this simple truism time and time again.

When you are suffering, it is easy to lose sight of what it is you are suffering for because you are only focussed on the pain of your distress.  For some, this is enough to make you give up because at the time, all you want is relief.  I know all too well what that feels like, but then I think to myself, what would I have if not for this dream?  Life is colorless when you have nothing to strive for.  I know I sound a bit histrionic, but truly, what do you have if you have nothing to LIVE for?  Nothing to die for, no purpose?  I am lucky that I have been given the opportunity to pursue what I want from life.  I am lucky that I have someone to do that with, that we share the same dream.  Not many people can say that.  Am I happy now? Sure.  Is this hard?  Hell yeah.  Would I ever want to go through this again?  Not really.  Do I have any regrets?  No, not at all.  Is it all worth it?  I think so...


  1. I commend your courage to address this subject. Jennifer and I have lived in the confined quarters of an HC33 for two years now. At times, the relationship itself has been as much of a challenge to sail through as the worst seas we have seen. I think it is true that living aboard tests a relationship more land-based ones. Because you have no where to go. And most often, no other friends or family to bounce your sanity off. You must find ways to give each other space to cool off. And then you must find ways back to each other after tiffs, small and large. It's like being out to sea. There is no port. You must deal with the weather.

    I would like to think that this makes for a more "aware" and "intended" relationship.