When I was around 7 years old—the time I was learning to sail on my own—My dad thought that it would be okay if I watched Jaws with him. I’m not totally sure why he thought that a small child watching a movie about giant man-eating great white shark was going to work out just fine, but I’m sure it went something like this.
First the girl gets dragged around and then “drowns.” I can see my young self not being quite sure of what actually dragged her down. Then little Alex? I think, gets chomped up on his raft. Oh my, I didn’t swim with my legs dangling down through and inner tube for years. Yes, even in rivers because you never know.
I watched in silent terror, until Richard Dreyfus decided to go swim down (at night) and look at poor old fisherman Ben Gardner’s boat. I shrieked. It was then when my dad realized that having me watch this movie probably wasn’t the best idea (In his defense, it was originally rated PG).
I was convinced that some freak shark had made it’s way in from the ocean, to the Columbia River, and made a home in the Willamette River where I was learning to sail. Shear panic would overcome my little body every time I capsized the boat, leading to my expertise in performing a walk-over.
Up until two years ago, I had re-occurring shark dreams. They always involved me being down at the sailing club, on the docks, and then the dock breaking away from land. I would look down and see the massive gray shadows in the water, with Jaws himself popping up to finish off what’s left of my little wooden raft. The destruction of the docks and and my survival plan would only change ever so slightly.
In the end, I learned how to sail and I love the water. I even go swimming in the ocean now (with a floatie)! We’re making progress!!
“The only normal people are the ones you don’t know very well.” -Alfred Adler
I recall a story my father would tell to some boyfriends over the years. It was a story of my “cute” dysfunction as a child. Well really it was our family’s dysfunction, but I was the one who shed some light on the subject (pun intended).
Per our family history, when I was around 4 or 5 years old, my family (consisting of my parents and my older brother) went to my uncle and aunt’s house for the evening to visit and have dinner. My older brother was the type of child that regularly created mischief and noise, while I was quite the “perfect” little girl (so I’ve been told), being able to entertain myself quietly and without getting into trouble in these types of social situations. However, at some point in the evening, it was noticed that I had been in the kitchen unaccompanied for quite some time. The fact that this was noted as unusual for a child who is able to entertain themselves safely means it was probably quite a long time I was gone before they noticed.
And so my dad enters the kitchen to find me standing at the refrigerator opening and closing the door, over, and over again. Apparently I look up and state quite excitedly “Look! There’s a light in there!” At which time my dad realizes that I have grown up to believe that looking into a dark refrigerator (due to a broken bulb) is completely normal. I’d like to say that my family went and bought a new refrigerator bulb at that point, but I’m sure this story was told time and time again when my various friends and boyfriends came over during the years because they asked why we didn’t have a light in our fridge…
That being said, I walked into my parent’s house this past weekend and was immediately met with a “normal” image from my childhood.
Apparently it’s not normal to have sails spread out all over the living room either. That is, unless you’re a family full of sailors.
“I am what I am, and that’s all that I am.” –Popeye the Sailor Man
If you ask me what my life might look like a year from now, I would have absolutely no idea what to say. Everyday I wake up, and I think “I wonder if something life changing is going to happen today.”
The problem with this thought is that it’s never just one event that changes your life forever. It’s a series of things that happen very slowly–and sometimes painfully–that get you to where you are. Then we stop and think “how on earth did I get to this place?” What kind of life story do I want? I can’t tell you the details like most people might be able to. I have no idea what I should be working towards. Some have it down to a mental check list; spouse, pet, nice house, 2.5 children, job that is bearable, etc. = Nice happy love story with a happy ending.
Unfortunately my list doesn’t look like this. Actually, I don’t know where my list went. I’m pretty sure a couple things were checked off, then scratched off, others erased, and only a few starred. However, on the bottom of the page–artfully depicted bien sûr–was a little sail boat.
I imagine that one creates their life list based on a combination of factors such as family values, childhood experiences, and societal pressures. I wonder though, how much genetics plays part in the desires of the heart. My grandma Mary, pictured above, was bound for adventure. True, she had some very trying life experiences, and perhaps some interesting ways of dealing with them, but I like to believe that she simply followed the wind. Living in Israel, working as a flight attendant, sailing, traveling the states in a motor home, and enjoying the beauty of meeting different people everywhere.
Adventure is in my blood. I have no agenda, no check list, no pressing life goals. Just a small little drawing of a sailboat. Time to follow the wind.
Everything a person owns should be beautiful or useful, preferably both.
I have not lived in any one location longer than a year, since I left for undergrad over 10 years ago. Around month 8 I start to get antsy to leave–I need a change. Moving is always the last result, and of course I try everything else to settle myself prior to lugging my stuff into a new place. But truly I have moved into a new home every year out of shear boredom. It’s around month 4 that I start to re-arrange the different rooms of the house to feel as if I’m actually somewhere new. I know it’s no good when I end up with the “original” configuration that I started with when I first moved in–which is when I end up moving. However, this bizarre and nomadic process allows me to purge quite a bit of stuff that has collected over the years. It’s interesting to see what things have made the final cuts. Journals, books, cameras, art, and a few collections of very colorful things such as thread (which I still sew with) and vintage swizzle sticks that my grandpa collected.
When I look around my little home, I imagine how quickly I can pack it up. What would I keep if I was only allowed one backpack?
My (newest) camera (there are 5 on these shelves alone and you can barely see the tri-pod with the 6th extra body on the right) and my passport. I’ve recently been looking into the idea of living on a boat.
I’ve been in my current home for 10 months. I’m back to the original furniture arrangement.
Any thoughts on my next adventure?