I was scheduled to leave my job in May to begin cruising. Progress toward that goal was developing well in every way. The cruising kitty is full and the boat is ready to go. I had a lot of vacation to burn off before my departure date, so I scheduled that Friday and Monday off and had plans to sail to Stuart Island.
I was going to miss a big company meeting due to my vacation, so my boss took me aside shortly before I left on Thursday to give me the cliff notes of what I’d be missing. That’s when he hit me with it: the company was going to be downsizing and needed to a lay a few people off. Would I like to be one of those people? Hell. Yes.
Under normal circumstances, I would not have been one of the ones let go. However, by taking someone’s place in the layoff I was saving someone else’s job. Someone with a family. Someone who needed the job and needed to cling to their story of security. And I get to start my cruise two months early! While cruising, I’ll start a job hunt for the perfect telecommuting job, one that will allow me to cruise full time while working. Something in the realm of software programming or software testing. It’s an idea I’ve had in the works for a long time.
Sailing to Stuart Island
Despite the layoff being a good thing, it still came as an emotional shock. I immediately motored to James Island after work and had a fitful night trying to wrap my head around my new-found freedom. In the morning I alternated between motoring and sailing to Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. Along the way I reflected…When I first started doing the weekend warrior thing, ping-ponging from the freedom and beauty of boating in the San Juan Islands on the weekend to the restriction and tediousness of cubical life, the emotional hangover from the weekends was almost unbearable. Over the last few years I’ve managed to harden myself, and as a result, started to take the stunningly beautiful views for granted.
I only realized how calloused I’d become that morning. Looking at ephemeral clouds dancing along the top of James Island, an eagle flew just a few feet over my head as I entered Thatcher Pass. And I realized: this doesn’t have to end on Monday. I could feel a crack in my mental armor widen and I let the beauty in a little deeper. Only now on the cusp of shedding this mental armor do I realize that I was wearing it. And now identified, I realize how burdened I’ve been because of it.
Ever since my last cruise ended in September, I’ve had a white-knuckle grip on time. I’ve been forcing myself to see life through the tunnel vision of routine. Get out of bed, get to work, get through it, work on the boat, socialize, sleep, and repeat. Don’t feel bored. Channel my frustration productively. Don’t think too hard about morbid subjects. Just get through it. Antidepressants helped a lot.
To be unexpectedly thrown into the lifestyle I’ve been craving leaves me blinking in surprise. It’s a shock to go from such a structured and dictated lifestyle to one so open ended.
But the one constant through it all is the beckoning of the horizon. Now I’m free to heed the call.