In the end of October I realized that I had spent about half the month sleeping in a tent.
My friend and I walked the bulk of the John Muir Trail. I did my field practical for a search and rescue team I'm joining. I've taken (dragged) my children out to the desert for weekend trips.
I don't do well sitting around. A good friend of mine and fellow sailor went through a tough cancer fight, of the same variety that another friend passed away from. One of the Air Force PJ's who helped our family died barely a few weeks ago in a training accident. Charlotte and I are getting older. The gray hairs that were once a novelty are now forming a more united front on my head.
And my children are getting older. Cora is, as normal for a human, turning from a child into a small adult. I talked to her the other day about how the transition is gradual. We don't even let people become a US Senator until they are 30 years old: the more trips you have around the sun, if you play your cards right, the more wisdom you accumulate although I'm sure anyone reading this can attest that plenty of people manage to remain copiously stupid despite advancing years.
All of this adds up to a theme that basically drives me throughout most of my life: the end is near. Well maybe not "near", but certainly it's not getting any further away and possibly it's more near than we'd like to think.
My two wonderful girls will be done with their respective childhoods faster than I can realize, and probably faster than I want. I'm pretty fit and strong, but those will start to fail me too, and before they give out completely I will be consistently slower than before and take longer and longer to heal.
In some ways, sailing was easy because of the identity it provides. There's community, there are some clear definitions, and there are well laid tracks in front of you with options for what to do.
Back here on land, it's different. You have to pick between buying and renting. There are Targets nearby. Amazon.com deliveries. Credit scores and prostate exams.
All of those things hold true on the water as well, but they're less in-your-face. The forced simplicity and hardness of a sea-going lifestyle breeds a different set of priorities. Similar to exercise and keeping your calories in check, it's not always fun, but the ends justify the means.
Some of my writing is well formulated and I'm trying to getting a message out. Others, like this, is more on the cathartic side.
I guess when your previous plan was to sail a boat around the world with your family, second place goals to tide one's self over are miles away from first place.