Freedom in Choice

    Among my collection of SNOGs (shouldas/need-tos/oughtas/gottas) is “When you start something, you need to stick with it … no matter what.” Such rigidity discourages both exploration and experimentation. Believing once I start down a road I must continue to its end — regardless — I find myself reluctant to follow a new course. It may be wonderful, or not. It may be good today and horrid in three months.

    Holding onto feelings of “obligation” (for staying the course), has garnered plenty of fuel for self-flagellation when I reached my limit and changed course prematurely. As for enjoying the selected path, I’ve never completely given into its pleasure because of the niggling concern the good will fade into bad and I’ll be stuck. I can’t win for losing! I’m exhausted. Frustrated. Have wasted gobs of time (and energy). Worse is never being in the moment, relaxing nor enjoying anything around me.

    Remaining everhopeful of effectuating positive change, I continue forward. (Acknowledging and accepting that which I want changed is a good start.) Knowing each SNOG’s absence leaves a space, the decision then becomes “Do I fill it with another SNOG or change perspective?” Right now I’m in a unique position to choose the latter.

    My daughter is an adult. An outside job not necessary. Life on a 45-year-old sailboat is simple. So long as the Love of My Life and I have one another, the water is on the outside, people inside and there’s no blood, all is well. With food in the cupboards, water in the tanks and ample electricity, we’re quite comfortable. We have wonderful extras: Weather (both a joy and challenge), time, quiet and space. In this insular world — consciously and diligently created for me by the Love of My Life — I am safe to peel away SNOGs, experiment, explore my surroundings, thoughts, beliefs and “truths.”

    Say I decide to do “A.” I implement a process I think might accomplish it. If yes, great. If no, I ask “Do I still want to check this out?” If no, I go onto something else. If yes, I adjust. A while later I again check to see if it’s working (and/or heading in a desired direction). If yes, great. If no, I again ask if I still want to pursue it. If I answer “Nope” it’s onto something else. If “yes,” I think of another modification. This procedure can be followed indefinitely.

    During the process I continually remind myself there’s a huge difference between effing-up due to apathy, not caring or intentionally sabotaging efforts, to discovering an experiment didn’t work. HUGE! Turns out the only way to explore or experiment is by accepting as F-A-C-T (a four-letter word I love to hate! lol) the process is non-linear, I won’t know the outcome in advance and mistakes will be made. Some small, others not. By approaching each day with the intent of being the best “me” possible, it can be a good day. I control my mind-set. As for my experiment or exploration’s outcome, that’s usually beyond my control.

    Recently I realized given the choice of living on land in a domicile, a boat in a marina or on the hook in a sailboat, I would choose the latter (though perhaps the most challenging). With this realization, my mind settled and stress diminished.

    ~ Dinghy. I understand my nervousness of soloing in a dinghy in choppy water is temporary. The more I use the dinghy and get exposed to different environmental situations, the more confident and comfortable I’ll be. While this won’t happen overnight, it will happen sooner (and with less wear and tear on my psyche) because I’m realistic. This is a necessary skill for living aboard a sailboat on anchor.

    ~ Showers. Fresh water remains a precious commodity until we acquire a water maker. Boat showers consist of turning water on, getting wet, turning water off, soaping, turning water on, rinsing, turning water off. Total water usage: perhaps one or two gallons. (Less than the average toilet flush.)

    Speaking of toilets …

    ~ Marine toilets. Let’s just say while not outhouses or porta-potties, they are not your land-lubber flushers.

    ~ Bottom line: None of these apparent “inconveniences” matter. They are simply part of the life I’ve chosen. With choice being a balm for a ravaged soul, there’s no sense of deprivation.

    Recently I checked to see if my blog was meeting my needs. Turned out the answer was “No.” The blog had started feeling SNOGish. Something I began a number of years ago and now felt I shoulda, need-to, oughta, gotta post to regularly.

    Did I want the blog to continue? Yes. I’ve enjoyed sharing doodles, thoughts, musings, stories and doodle-togs. Ditto presenting encouraging and upbeat points of view.

    Could I think of a modification to implement? Yes. Because I had (and have) no desire for this to turn sour, I’m relieving myself of the (self-imposed) pressure of “having” to post weekly. As of now, should I choose to post, I will. Should I choose not to, I won’t.

    Comfortable with having a possible solution and my desire for the blog to remain a Good Thing and Little Happy, the experiment continues.

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    Kathy Vondracek - March 10, 2017 - 5:02 am

    Hi, Tana! It’s great to see you still blogging! How fun, to live on a boat! I love your idea of SNOGs. I’ve gotten rid of so many. Have a great weekend!

    Tana Bevan - March 12, 2017 - 3:02 pm

    Hey Kathy, Good to hear from you. Yes, life is good aboard a sailboat. Enjoy your day!