Its all relative……

I know that I’ll look back on my age right now, and think that I was young………but, at this moment, I’m coming up on a birthday that is surprisingly hard. Many of you will think its rediculous that I”m having a hard time with this birthday. I’m turning 34 in a couple of weeks. In the past, birthdays have been no big deal, and haven’t been very important to me. This birthday feels different. For years growing up, I couldn’t see myself past 39, as if I wasn’t going to live past 39. Maybe that’s why coming up on 34, now officially in my mid 30’s, is feeling hard – I’m approaching my late 30’s. And, things are changing, like my skin, my body, the grey hairs that I secretly pluck off my head! So, the other day when a nice older man, maybe in his late 70’s, helped me load up the dinghy and treated me like a kid, I was thrilled. It made my day. He talked with me about living on the boat, where we were going to go, why it was so great that we were living on a boat now, when we were young and had more energy. Once I started the outboard motor and pulled away from the dinghy dock, he said, “Take care kiddo”! It was the “kiddo” part that made my day. Little did he know I have to secretly pluck the few grey hairs I have coming in.

So, as I write this, its snowing outside. Rain was predicted for today, but its dumping snow. Like fools, we’re wintering in Annapolis, MD. Its not that this isn’t a great place, but its not the best place to winter on an uninsulated steel boat. We thought it would be somewhat of an adventure. That is what we tried to convince ourselves of. Now we’re thinking we were overly optimistic and maybe just not as young as we used to be. Maybe we were never young enough to live out a winter here, on the hook (anchored)! Now, instead of thinking of this as an adventure, we’re thinking we were perhaps just plain silly. In actuality, it has not been bad, but all the locals around here say that winter has not come yet. We’ve already burned nearly a whole forest of firewood in our little Sardine wood burning stove, and its only the beginning of January! Hhmmmmm………..

But, when I think about all the things to deal with on the boat, all the little things I would have never imagined needing to learn or think about, like the condensation on the steel hull, the temperature being too cold for the outboard motor to start, or the water holding tanks freezing b/c one side of them is against the hull which is against the water, I still will take living on a boat over a house or apartment. For now. I can also see why, at a certain point and at a certain age, some people say they’re done with cruising or living aboard. It takes a different kind of participation in life than living on land. And, if you do it long enough, I can see that some day, land living would seem appealing again. I still feel like I’m just beginning this adventure. One winter in the cold won’t do me in. I feel like in the last year and a half I’ve learned so much, and am ready for so much more. This coming year for us will be the time to take all of this new knoweldge and skill and travel outside of the US. Finally.

It doesn’t look like much, but it IS snowing!

4 thoughts on “Its all relative……

  1. Karen Hansen

    Jamie, I had to laugh at your comment about turning 34 and suddenly your perception changed about eternal youth. I was not laughing at you but I always remember MY 34th birthday as a turning point too. We had just moved back to Washington from Nevada when I was 33, and the first teaching job I got was at St. Louise School in Bellevue, actually not far from where you grew up. I was teaching 7th & 8th graders and had my 34th birthday that spring. One of the boys asked me how old I was and I told him 34. He said, “Man! You be old!” And that was such an epiphany for me! I was no longer a kid but a teacher of early adolescents who thought I was an old lady and now I had to really enter the true adult world. Zarr Guillory, wherever you are, thanks for setting me straight on thinking I was an eternal ingenue 🙂 Of course now I think I was just a baby, and you are too, at 34, so indeed it is all relative, ie, looking at 34 from either age 13 or 63. Hope your birthday is a good one this year, cold boat or not. I’ll think of you on the 20th! Love, Karen

  2. Bill

    Well, Jamie, it may be a little early, but allow me to wish you a heartfelt happy birthday – and that from someone who has little hair left, whether gray or otherwise, and who turned 65 last month. Year counting is a way to give order and keep track, but our memories and dreams resist confinement, they flow and surprise, whatever our age; at least, that’s how I’ve experienced it. Being a “kid(do)” or “old” is ongoing, whenever and wherever you are; just that, for me, getting older offers more layers and ripples to discover, and despite the physical changes and consequences, it offers new opportunities for growth, for amazement. I hope you don’t get too cold on the water or too weary in your mid-30’s there in Annapolis! I think you’re pretty young and pretty amazing and send my very best wishes.


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