Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Voyage Or A Cruise?

Some 25 years or so ago, a friend once asked me if my life was going to be a voyage or a cruise. At the time, I didn't have a clue what he was getting at. I thought about it for a while, but since I never really understood the question, it soon became nothing more than a fleeting thought. Recently, while working with a another friend on a book project, I was reminded, unknowingly at the time, of that question originally posed to me all those years ago. Now, a few years older and hopefully a little wiser, I thought I was beginning to understand what he meant when he said "voyage or cruise." Life is full of choices. Some are smart and prudent, others....not so much. At the same time some of those decisions are easy while others are incredibly difficult bordering on the painful. But together, those choices and decisions shape who we are or who we will become and ultimately steer the course for our future.

But still, is it a voyage or a cruise?

In 1973, American actor and author Sterling Hayden wrote the following in his book titled "Wanderer:"

"To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea… “cruising” it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. The cruisers typically say things like, I’ve always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can’t afford it. What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of “security.” And in the worship
of security
we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone. We are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life? "

I don't know that I necessarily agree that that it has to be a matter of the purse or the life, but it definitely is a matter of choice. It's also about being true to yourself as you make those decisions and occasionally stepping outside the box to take chances that will hopefully leave you without regrets. I'm still not sure if I have the answer to my friends original question from all those years ago, but at least now, I understand the question. And that's half the battle!

Til next time................
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