Monthly Archives: March 2008

Fear and Regret

"Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover" — Mark Twain

I think this is my new personal motto. When people first hear about the dream we are pursuing, namely, to move our family of six aboard a large catamaran and maybe sail away someday, the first thing they ask is, “aren’t you afraid?” Afraid? Of course we’re afraid.  Afraid of storms, seasickness, shipwreck, sharks, piracy, conflict, running aground, our own ineptitude, untimely breakages, isolation, going broke, death, the unknown. I am afraid of the things that will scare me that I don’t even know about yet. I don’t even know how to sail. I have no business dreaming this dream. I have been moored in the safe harbor so long that my mooring line is encrusted with comfort and has become one with the mooring itself. I’m not going anywhere without something breaking off and causing some damage.

Alright. So what? Let it break off; it’ll only hurt for awhile. (Aha!) Those are the words that purchase freedom and welcome adventure, a life replete with excitement and risk of danger. In any case, we’ve decided that there are things worse than fear. Like regret. We’ve been afraid before. Like on our wedding day. The day we closed on our first house. The day we went to the hospital to have our first child. The day we moved to Florida. But if we had not done those things, actually gotten married, taken on the responsibilities of a home and a family, made big and scary decisions, if we had stayed in the safe harbor and never filled our sails with wind—what would be the point of our lives? The weight of regret would surely have crushed us by now.

We are, on the eve of “the point of no return” on this boat deal, alternately giving each other the pep talk. You can do this, we tell each other. It’s crazy, but we can do it anyway. We will, too. Just watch us. And if we do manage to do it, to actually acquire this worthy vessel, sail it around the peninsula and successfully dock it, take it for short cruises, learn to live with her and with each other, and to ultimately go exploring, it won’t be because we deserved it, nor because we were prepared, and it most certainly won’t be because we were unafraid, rather it will be despite those things.  We have decided to really live, or die trying.