Monday, December 14, 2009

The Motion of the Ocean

Janna Cawrse Esarey!
Janna Cawrse Esarey!
Janna Cawrse Esarey!

(did I get it right this time? :D)

So as I'd mentioned as I was getting ready to head up to Fishkill for Thanksgiving, my review copy of The Motion of the Ocean, by fellow Whittie Janna Cawrse Esarey, turned up just in time for reading on the train. I enjoyed it - sort of ripped through it normal for me, I have a slightly idiosyncratic reading style, if I enjoy a book at ALL I speed-read it the first time & then if I still like it, I go back & reread. Last week, I finally had a chance to go through it again & yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Again!

I've heard it said that at least one book could be written about almost anyone's life. Most of us just don't ever sit down & do it.

Janna's a writer, of course, and I'd bet that there'll be more books forthcoming - but if somehow this had been her only one, it would've been a good one.

First and foremost - I guess I just always love reading about people who figure out ways to live their dreams (or as Janna & Graeme call it, their Big Hairy Audacious Goals). Partly because it makes me feel like there's hope for me - because when Janna says "I just didn't like the person I'd become through my job: a harried, perfectionist, martyring workaholic", I identify. Oh yes. I sometimes think I should add a tag called "whining about work" to this blog, so I can keep tabs on how often & how badly I do it - but the thing is, I know perfectly well that I've been totally complicit in creating the life I'm living right now. I've got reasons right now that I'm willing to let the status quo remain, but I used to like to say "I don't live to work, I work to live" and I've been feeling like every consecutive year of late has allowed for less and less living ("living" being boating, hiking, getting on the occasional horse, enjoying good food, laughing with friends, etc). I feel deeply in need of re-establishing some balance; I guess part of why I'm not running howling from my job is because part of the problem is that I've inherited a big hairy clean-up job, and the hope of clean-ups is that as you slog through them, things do actually improve.

But yeah, I have been feeling in need of re-establishing some balance. No, I'm not going to talk TQ into buying a boat & going cruising for a couple of years - but just getting back to having time for post-work paddling & sailing next summer would make me very, very happy.

And so, of course, I truly enjoyed reading about somebody else who found herself in a similar overwork situation who, with the encouragement & cooperation of her future husband, Graeme, was able to extricate herself, grab control of her life & go do what she, what they, had long dreamed of doing.

And the story of cruising (and truly doing the groundwork on a new marriage while cruising) that follows was really great. She takes you along for the whole ride - the places they go, the hazards they face (or almost face), the creatures they meet (and eat, and yes, the coconut crab is indeed a creepy-looking creature), her own "hey, I can do this" moments (the ones she says she's embarrassed to tell you about if you're already a sailor, but don't all us boaters remember our own "aha" moments?) the cruising community (I had no idea there was so much of a sense of community among cruisers) and oh, yes, the relationships between two people who've had some ups & downs in their history but willingly agreed to spend a very long time together on a very small boat.

Relationships are strange things these days. Maybe it's just that I live in NYC, but the dating scene (which I've never really gotten invoved in) seems to be full of people who approach it like they are trying on shoes or something. Like if they just go through enough in sequence, eventually, la la la, they'll find the perfect fit.

And of course there's always the latest Dating Advice Book that's sort of encouraging that view, oh, if you do this and this and this, then you will get Mr. or Ms. Perfect, and well-meaning friends full of equally helpful advice (someone once told me in dead seriousness that I really had to start doing different things because I wasn't getting dates through the boating - didn't seem occur to her at all that I was doing the boating because I really liked it & have never been particularly focused on Finding a Man anyways - TQ came along long after she & I lost touch, I'd been paddling for 7 years with no Relationships-with-a-capital-R before he & I started seeing each other). Sometimes seems like all the advice & expectations might just be counter to actually establishing a solid relationship.

Going to sea for a couple of years - what a way to cut through all that stuff & instead set a foundation for something real & solid.

Trial by water, and a good read all the way through.

Thank you, Janna (& indirectly, Graeme, too!) for sharing it.

P.S. - quick note - speaking of big hairy audacious goals, good heavens, I just took a lunchtime glance at Paddling and I see that Freya's almost finished with her Australia circumnavigation!!! Pretty amazing. Wonder what she does next?

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