Like Bob Seger’s verse in his song, Against the Wind, “wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t’ know then”, when we take time to reflect on the life we lived, the sea has given us a great story indeed.
The experiences we’ve had travelling the world have shaped our thoughts in a way that is unique to the mariner. Like a born-again moment, when we look out to the sea, be it from a ship, pier, or the beach, we are reminded of our past and having lived a great story. As we gaze seaward, these memories, like that of a past lover, is also felt in the present tense, as if we are still permanently bonded to the ocean.
Our daydreams, our memories, soothe us. We feel the glorious past of ocean calling once again.
This bond with the sea, only known to mariners creates an exclusive brotherhood. Whether recalling funny stories from ashore, some truly remarkable character onboard or a situation which put the vessel in danger, the memories come in clear. It is funny though, when amongst other brothers of the sea, our stories are most often told with levity, we dismiss the seriousness and I don't have an answer why this happens. Perhaps the sea does indeed control our thoughts.
It is not the same as those who went to sea in the Navy or Coast Guard, or for those lucky enough to travel for pleasure. Although they may have journeyed across the same seas and gone ashore in the same places, the perspective as experienced by the mariner is one totally different, we weren’t drafted, nor did we select a destination, the sea chose us.
For the younger generations going down to the sea in ships, my hope for you is to “live a great story”. Living a great story is not following a career path, nor is it the accumulation of wealth, but rather, it is remembering and nurturing your connection of your life to the sea.
Be well, explore, dream and discover.
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