It's time for me to look back...way back...so I can look forward with total clarity. My mid-life crisis has officially arrived! :-)
Roller Bay on Hope Island, British Columbia, 1982
My favorite place in the world. This image doesn't hold a candle to the sound of the waves as they tumble over the pea gravel and fall back into the sea.
The rhythmic sound is hypnotizing.
In 1982 this prairie girl moth-balled her designer wardrobe in favor of one-piece Stanfield's underwear, heavy wool pants & sweater, Snyder's gum boots and Helly Hansen raingear. I headed for the west coast of Vancouver Island where I lived and worked on the ocean for two years on the M/V "Bonnie May" (wheel house pictured far right).
Right is a Grade A Geoduck ready for live export. Far right shows how they were crated, stacked and tarped to stay fresh.
We harvested exotic seafood species for Asian export markets. We harvested geoducks (pronounced gooey-duck), which are giant clams and sea urchins. The work challenged me (physically and mentally) beyond anything I had ever experienced. It was a time for extremes ranging from awful to awesome.
I had left a budding retail management career in Regina, Saskatchewan to immerse myself in gale and storm forced winds, mechanical issues, perishable cargo and close quarter living with no amenities or privacy. These harsh days were contrasted by inspirational and breathtaking moments that words simply can't describe...left is a photo of my first encounter trying to remove an octopus from the deck! Those suction cups are relentless!
It was an invigorating lifestyle. I survived two hurricane force storms (but that's another blog), one complete loss of cargo/revenue/payroll and was once stranded with no access to supplies for six days. I could ramble on and on...for me this was life on the edge!
The M/V "Bonnie May", a 38' Sealander Sea Truck. That tiny wheelhouse was home from 1992-1994. Crew size ranged from 2-4 sardines people.
By age 22 I became interested in a relationship. My heart's desire didn't appear to reside in the remote inlets of northern Vancouver Island. My standards and ideals drove me to relocate to the mainland where I attended college. I wanted to become more "professional".
I married Randy at 27 and delivered our first baby at 30. My life and my body were no longer just about me. I drove my car and lived my life with more caution. I had others to think about. I had a reason to be less selfish and more responsible. As I became more professional in my career I began dabbling on the shoreline of the marine industry. In other words my career moved from the water (marine operations) onto the beach (administration). Since then I've moved farther and farther away from the ocean...figuratively and literally.
Mesa, Arizona, February 28, 1990...making our golf cart getaway...
On the night I created the draft of this blog I noticed that I no longer work with any marine-based clients. I have become disconnected from the industry I once wanted to know everything about.
By age 40 I was convinced my husband was the source of my life not working out as planned. When I completed the Landmark Forum in 2004 (www.landmarkeducation.com) I discovered that I had, in fact, exercised excellent judgement in choosing Randy as my partner. My dissatisfaction wasn't his fault. At some point I had simply stopped planning my life and began living from my circumstances. I'd lost track of my earlies dreams.
I've seen glimpses of the disconnect between my intentions and my actions before. It rises to the surface during the occasional personal development workshop exercise. In a financial workshop last year I discovered that I don't even own the "Top 5 Assets" I most value in terms of personal enjoyment and recreation. Missing are my kayak, Sea-Doo and motor sailor - even though I have without question earned enough income in my life to own them all by now.
So here I sit on January 2, 2009...a brand new year...asking myself...
- What is it I think I can't have?
- What actions am I not taking?
- Why do I do what I do?
- Who am I doing it for? (The irony is no one really even knows what I do anyway).
- What is the impact on me?...on others?
- Do I have the courage to resurrect my original hopes and dreams?
- What is it that I want to create for myself (my kids are now 13 & 15)?
- How do my family's needs and priorities converge with my personal desires?
- Do I have the courage to create from nothing - NOW - at age 45?
(More evidence of mid-life crisis...the lease is up on my car next month and I want something sporty and fun!)
This photo of Randy was taken in July, 1986. We were visiting Galiano Island (southern Gulf Islands just north of the San Juan Islands).
I'm grateful to be married to a flexible guy like Randy. He's usually the first to say "let's do it"...regardless of what IT is! The challenge for me lies in identifying and expressing what it is that I really want to experience in this lifetime.
If you have any insights for this square peg...I'm all ears. In the meantime, I invite you to share reflections from your past and tell us about your mid-life crisis. If you need more space for your share - add a link to your blog!
I hereby declare 2009 as the "Year of Alignment"...between my thoughts, words and actions.
Happy New Year!