Have I wasted 50 years of my life in pursuit of something I never really wanted? Thoughts like that have had a profound influence on me. Thoughts like that make me question if all my decisions to date have been in vain. I ask myself…Why am I doing this?
When I sit back with a clear mind and think, I realize I made decisions based on the experience I had at the time. No one can expect to understand all of what life has to throw at you at any given moment. You are a sum of your experiences, your upbringing and genetics. Your not completely in control of your life, even if you think you are. Many things happen that you could not foresee, things that your limited experience have no simple answer to.
So what do you do? You can’t wander around aimlessly, hoping someone will show you the way. Their way might not be the path for you. You can read everything you can find about a subject and try to make a more informed decision. Some of what you read is fact, but some is just opinion. I try to keep it simple and just do the best I can. I try to make an informed decision, and hope it was the right one. If it was right, great! If not, lesson learned and move on. I think that’s what I’m doing, I’m moving on.
You don’t get many second chances in life, so when you do you better make it count. I know now what my dream life looks like. It looks like Maine. I have thought many times in the past that I wanted to leave Maine and explore the world, maybe even move to another country. (New Zealand would be my first choice!) Set off on a grand adventure and maybe never return. But upon reflection, I have left Maine several times, and I always return. Every time I get back, I get a strong sense of being home. This is my comfort zone, the place where I grew up, the home of my heritage, the place where I will be buried.
I realize I have only scratched the surface of what Maine has to offer. There’s so much I have never had the time to experience, so much left to see and feel. I realize people from all over the world come here to get a small glimpse of this wonderful place, drawn by the pictures they see in magazines or on TV. They are drawn by stories told by others about vacations on our shores, mountains they climbed or fishing in our streams. Long walks in our forests surrounded by all that our temperate climate has to offer. I think you could say, I’m in love with Maine.
I know what I want to do when I grow up! I want to tell the story of what it’s like to live in Maine. Not the people, not the politics, just the feeling I get when standing at the shore, walking along a trail or paddling up a stream. The sense of being IN nature not just looking at it. I feel very connected to the land of my birth, I feel it’s draw even as I sit here a thousand miles away. I feel the sun warming me as I lay in an open field, I smell the fresh cut hay and feel the breeze wash over me.
I will spend the rest of my life here, trying to capture in pictures and video what it means to be from Maine. I will buy my sailboat and spend every summer sailing the coast. Exploring every island and cove, every harbor and town. And I will share it with you. As I look at the financial part of my dream, I see that if I work 6 months at my present vocation, I can afford to take 6 months off. I can pull the boat in the winter and continue to work for the same company, or sail south for the winter and work there. No fun living on a boat when it’s 10 below zero!
I would like to make one long passage on my boat, just to prove to myself I have the guts to do it, one lasting memory of the grand adventure I longed for as a young boy. When I’m ready, I will sail east across the Atlantic to Europe. I’ve had this dream of sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower, eating fresh croissants and drinking strong black coffee with a friend there I promised to visit. After some time in France I will make the loop south “Till the butter melts” as the sailors say, then turn west to the Bahamas. Turn north, sail the ICW, (Inter coastal waterway) and the east coast of the US to arrive back at Maine. Many people do this trip over one year and I will plan for the same.
I will try to put into words and pictures the feeling I get when I sail between the islands of Penobscot Bay, drop anchor in Casco Bay and walk the cobblestone streets of Portland. Climb Tumbledown Mountain and swim in it’s pond. Paddle across a small pond with no one but my dog and a moose for company. I am going to live the rest of my life surrounded by the places that make me feel at home, doing the things that make me feel connected to this earth. I will find my peace right here in the one place I call home, Maine.