When I was a boy I would sit facing the ocean, on a beach, on a breakwater, on a boat and imagine myself surrounded by its vastness. In these youthful projections, I would never tire of its endless blue. I pictured myself a captain on a small, seaworthy vessel.
As a young man I would sit on that breakwater, that beach, that boat, and contemplate my insignificance. I imagined living a life where I was more free to live as I chose, where my priorities could be manifest in my daily life, where I was not beholden to the compromises that modern life demands. I looked to the sea and saw what I believed might be the final fastness of freedom.
Then I (arguably) “grew up”. Convention schooled me, taught me that every child dreams but those fantasies are inevitably naive, flawed. The doubt takes hold slowly; what if I get tired of it; what if I discover I would rather have my career with all its security and predictability; what if my family hates it; what if… that endless blue ocean isn’t as breathtaking, as awe inspiring, as life affirming as I had hoped; what if I become lost in my insignificance?
Tomorrow our little family will cross the equator. We will have sailed over 2000 miles in 17 days on this awesome ocean, and we still are not done. I sit here in the forward companionway, laptop on my knees, and face a seemingly endless horizon. The moon shines a silver path to the West and the Southern Cross marks our path forward. Hull and sails cut unerringly through wind and sea towards our next destination. And I reflect on that boy, on that young man that I once was. I can answer his unasked questions now. Yes the ocean will reveal your cosmic insignificance but if you live intentionally, follow your dreams and obey your personal wisdom you will rediscover your personal significance.