Cheering On People Bolder Than I

Sailboat in San Francisco Bay
Image via Wikipedia

My friend Tucker posted the link to this blog post, Ten Lies, which refers to another blog post by DivineCaroline.com. Both are about the things people say to talk others out of pursuing their dreams.

You know the thing that pops into my head when I hear about someone taking bold steps to pursue their dreams?

“Wow. That’s really selfish.”

What’s strange is that I don’t even believe this. I think it’s one of those thoughts that my inner critic comes out with to protect me from doing something bold. Even at the moment I think this, I know it’s a lie. Or if it’s true, who cares? Is it selfish to live one’s life the way one wants to? What exactly is selfish about identifying what you want to do, taking into account its potential effect on those you love, and then taking steps to make it happen?

I think the big thing behind the comments of any naysayer is fear. They’re afraid of doing it themselves, of taking a stand and making a bold choice in their lives. So they try to convince others to do nothing to pursue their dreams, too.

Acting out of fear isn’t going to bring anyone much joy and satisfaction, except perhaps the schadenfreude that comes with watching other people not-quite-make-it when they try for their bold dreams. That’s certainly cold comfort.

Tucker and the blogger of “Ten Lies” are part of a community of people who’ve arranged their lives so they can live aboard their sailboats and go traveling the world. I’m not a sailer, and the idea of traveling around the world, no matter how I would travel, scares me. But I don’t have any inclination to try to talk Tucker and his friends out of their dreams.

I might not be interested in sailing around the world, but I sure as heck want other people to try. And succeed. It gives me hope for the rather smaller bold things I want to do in my life.

And after this situation with my aunt, I realize that what scares me more than sailing around the world is deciding to stay in bed until I die. It’s a very safe option, but not one that is appealing to me at all. For which I am incredibly grateful.

Another question: Is life to be endured or to be enjoyed? Or perhaps life just is and what it is is open to individual interpretation.

Everyone’s journey ends at the same destination. But we each get to determine the scenery along the way.

On a related note, when I asked my daughter what she thought about the idea of living on a sailboat and sailing around the world like our friends Ruby and Miles, she at first didn’t like the idea. She said she liked living in a house because it’s bigger than a boat. She wanted to travel places, she said, but she didn’t want to sail around the world.

“I like flying on planes because they give you food, and I like driving because we take snacks,” she explained. I’m amused to find that my daughter shares my anxieties around a reliable food supply.

When I told her that the sailboat would have a kitchen on it and we could make food, she got excited about the idea. When I told her about Ruby going up the mast in the Bosun’s chair and Miles playing a game in which he shot clothespins off a counter in the boat, she got so excited, I thought she was going to ask me to put her on a boat right that moment.

One Reply to “Cheering On People Bolder Than I”

  1. Thanks for the link!

    I do not believe that the sailboat thing is the only option open for big dreams. There are a lot of variations on a theme of dream, and when this one no longer serves our family, we’ll move onto something different. People tend to think you have to pick one and get locked in, and it’s just not like that. Probably a hangover from the whole “choose just one major” thing.

    I get the “selfish” idea, I truly do. People assume this was a top-down decision… most people assume my husband wanted to sail and drug the rest of us along. Actually, he and I together dreamed this dream, and included the kids in it. It’s a collective. And my mother, who is 67, is moving aboard with us later this year. I honestly think this option for our life is bigger and more inclusive than other options might have been.

    Like

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