Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Flying Without a Net, By H. Michael

The other night Janet Lee and I were having cocktails with some friends. We shared our goal of moving onboard Adventure Us 2 with them (they shall remain nameless) and one of them responded with, "oh, I could never do that".   I thought to myself, well isn't that precisely the point?     Allow me to explain.

When I was a teenager growing up in Dallas, I was lucky enough to have parents that loved going to the movies.  Even before we moved to Dallas, we would go to "drive in" theaters and watch double features into the late hours of the night, and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.  This manner of distraction allowed my imagination to run out of control with unrestrained frenzy.  I easily identified with the lead character, or any other character I choose, and in that context I would make choices and decisions for the character based on my own youthful idealism, and perception of the world.  Whether I was identifying with Lloyd Bridges in his role as the Karl Wallenda,  John Wayne in the Alamo, or Omar Sharif in just about anything, I created my own sensibilities.  Movies somehow filled in the gap between who I thought I could be, who I would like to be, and who I really was.  Yea, in my youth I could totally perform a high wire act without a net.  To do anything else would be so uncool.  Besides if you are confident in your ability, skillful at your craft, and courageous in your mission what could go wrong?

Somewhere along the line I stepped away from a romantic perception of life and allowed  conventional structure to dominate my existence.  I became what I was expected to be; a consumer of everything traditional culture told me I wanted from life.  Now don't get your butt up in a roar because this post is not a rant about consumerism,  and it certainly is not a cry of regret for things I have or have not achieved.  The fact is I have been blessed with a life free of depravity and full of adventure that has left me sane, healthy, happy and free of undesirable habits.  But, always bubbling just under the surface in the cauldron of life was an irresistible essence, or spice I wanted to taste.

Occasionally someone, or some event would stir my soul and quixotic thoughts would invade my spirit and bestow an irresistible desire to swim against the grain of convention.  Some of you (if anyone is reading this) may say that the very spirit of quixotism makes for an ugly blend of impracticality at the expense of romanticism.  I ask you; did Rooster Cogburn fuss over the impossible, or impractical odds stacked against him when he mounted his horse, a Winchester in each hand,  reins in his mouth, and charged hell bent for leather toward the bad guys?  Hell no he didn't.  He was prepared to stay the course, trust in himself, his abilities, and his equipment because he learned from his quest for self realization that he had true grit.

The roads we travel in life are many, and a few of us must lead the way for others to follow especially when it means going against conventional wisdom of how our time on earth should be spent. Romantic, impractical, or na├»ve as it may seem to those who do not share our mindset, Janet Lee and I have decided to explore the undeniably different lifestyle of living on a cruising sailboat, and if required to make personal changes in our lives to achieve our goal.  Do I want to wash clothes in a bucket? Not really.  But, if it is a necessary requirement then I'll take the ugly along with the bad and the good.   Perhaps somewhere along the way we may even discover that flying without a net can be fulfilling, as long as we stay away from uncontrolled landings.