Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Inspires You?

I was reading a blog post by Andy Schell on Sailfeed where he asks the question "What inspires you?". His own answer is:

"What inspires you? What inspires me is the constant feeling of something missing, of never being satisfied. I'm happy - just not satisfied. I'll never be. Or I might as well give it all up."  

This is 28-year-old Andy writing reflections on the last 8 years of his life. It's a good question, and one that gave me pause. This is, after all, the age of vanishing heroes - fallen role models in sports teams, priests and generals accused and convicted of sex abuse, absent parents. The mysterious is banished to Google's few keystrokes, the awesome has become contrived by "the making of" videos, wonder and amazement are left to the few 2-year-olds that have not learned to use their opposing thumbs to text.

I thought about Andy's statement that he will never be satisfied and realized that there was a time that I felt that way, a few years back. Some say it's what motivates our plan to retire onto a sailboat - that desire to move and see and travel and the hunger for something more, something greater than oneself of which Andy speaks. But sitting in the warm shelter of my newly finished dodger last weekend looking into the cool, foggy mist, listening to the primordial screech of the great blue herons with the fragrant steam of my coffee tickling my nose, I realized that at 56, I'm not only happy, I am satisfied.What inspires me? I'm inspired by this fabric of life of which I am a single thread. I'm inspired by the greatness all around me, the greatness that I was searching for with the fervor of youth.  It is, after all, the responsibility of youth to be driven - to push, to explore, to create, to move - and the privilege of age to be able to sit quietly and be amazed and awed and inspired by the greatness all around, the greatness that was there all along.

So we continue with our plans to cruise, readying the boat and trying to sell the house for our cruising kitty, not because something is missing for which we are searching, but because our little lake already gives me the satisfaction of being just where I belong in the plan of things. And Andy, I hope I'm still around to hear what your 56-year-old self has to say about your 28-year-old reflections. Since I'm sure I'll be too old to sail, I'll be the cantankerous old lady in the liveaboard houseboat at the end of the last dock. You know, the one with the rocker on the front porch...


SailFarLiveFree said...

Great post Deb, one of your very best! It's refreshing to hear of someone being satisfied, particularly since you're about to set off on a great journey. I wonder if it's possible for you to be "more satisfied" in a year or two when your recent memory is full of cruising stories. I myself am certainly not dissatisfied, but I do struggle with contentment and a passion for exploration (of the mind, of the Earth, of the water). I guess I summed up part of my feelings in this post.

Irene Jennings said...

I have to say watching my peers work and my colleagues, and watching my parents grow old healthy, all inspire me.

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