Escape Velocity

Outboard Hoist

A removable harness allows me to hoist my outboard into the cockpit with the main halyard.

I’ve fallen into a pleasant routine: In the morning I hop out of bed to make a cup of coffee and then work on the computer as I sip. Lately the focus has been on applying for jobs, revamping my professional website, and working on websites for friends so that I can build up my portfolio. Around noon I go for a jog and have lunch. In the afternoon I work on the boat. I’ve slowly been putting Solace back together after her long trip.

This week I taught myself how to replace the impeller for the cooling system on my outboard. Thank you YouTube and Google. I have yet to come across a boating challenge that I can’t overcome with enough time spent using these modern day tools. It took me two tries though. After re-assembling the lower unit and carefully hoisting the outboard back into its spot with my main halyard, I fired up the engine and no water came out of the exit hole. Oops! I had misaligned the lower unit. The next day was a reenactment of the first – hoisting the engine into the cockpit and removing the lower unit. This time I carefully aligned the plumbing as I assembled the lower unit. After hoisting it back into position, the engine ran great.

At $80, this diverter valve wasn't cheap! But now I can control the flow of my poo. ;-)

At $80, this diverter valve wasn’t cheap! But now I can control the flow of my poo. 😉

In preparation to moving to Friday Harbor, I’m installing all the plumbing I need to pump out my holding tank. It’s a Type II holding tank that disinfects the waste and allows me to legally pump it over the side, but I’ve always wanted to have the option of pumping out at a pump-out station. Friday Harbor requires that liveaboards pump out at a station, and so I am happily complying. It’s just the excuse I needed. A three-way diverter valve lets me route the poo to be pumped overboard or sucked out the deck fitting.

I’ve also been busily canning crab. The east side of Whidbey Island is an amazingly productive crabbing area. After each weekend, I usually eat my fill while canning four to eight half-pint jars of crab meat. The crabs I caught this last weekend though staged a successful escape. I have a bucket with holes in it that I hang over the side of the dock, to keep the crab alive and frisky until I’m ready to cook them. The morning I was ready to process them, one side of the lid had been pried up and the bucket was empty. Dang!

Empathy Without Advice

Cracking Crab

Cracking crab meat in preparation for canning it.

This work I do for myself feels good. It feels right. I’m not stuck in a cubical applying the same specialized skills ad-nauseum. My creative energy is being focused on both my short and long term success as a whole person.

A friend of mine has been having a hard time with their job. We hung out over the weekend and he spent the whole weekend dreading the workday on Monday. He enjoyed the weekend, but the knowledge of Monday waiting on the horizon hung over his head like a dark cloud.

How much of my life has been spent in that exact same mental state? …Years. It’s like a form of torture. The pain of boredom creates a pervasive sense of dread. And it’s not just the boredom. It’s the knowledge that your creative energy is being focused on a menial task that will have no lasting value to you or the world. It’s a kind of anti-passion. If passion is important to happiness in work, anti-passion is equally destructive to a worker’s psychology. Its power is soul-killing.

But what to do when one finds themselves in this predicament? It’s not a simple answer. The solution depends entirely on the individual and their life circumstances. That left me with a sense of inadequacy. I could empathize with my friend, but I couldn’t pass on any advice.

My life is difficult. I love it, but it’s for very few people. It’s a serious commitment to live outside the status-quo, and each person has to find their own way. My solution was to dig-in. To embrace the suck. To pour all my money and frustration into my boat and personal infrastructure. I rocked that cubical until I had enough money to achieve escapes velocity. Still, I fear the gravity of societies pull.

Seeing my friend suffer reminds me of the years I’ve spent suffering in a similar manner. And seeing my money wane as I look for a more ethical way of life strikes fear in my heart that I may have to return to purgatory. But that is several months away. I will embrace a life of poverty before I do that. My infrastructure is complete. I have no more big-ticket items that I wish to buy. My escape velocity has been reached and now I just need to stay aloft.

Related posts:

Money & Paycheck Dependence
The Cusp of Consumption
Sailing and (Meteor) Showers
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