Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Captains of Our Ships

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UK Headteacher Hannah Wilson, @TheHopefulHT, posted this quote in a tweet recently. Unafraid of sailing my ship? I used to be terrified: so scared I’d make the wrong move that I didn’t make any moves whatsoever. At least, looking back now it seems that way. In truth, I probably made the moves that I was capable of at the time.

I’m capable of so much more today.

Lately, I’ve been getting kind of weepy at times. OK, I’ll confess to some actual sobs once or twice, even. Why? Because I can perceive how freaking big and beautiful this world is, and I want more. I sense my mortality in one hand and in the other, more connections to people and places than I ever have had before, and it sometimes overwhelms me.

In the quote’s framework, I’m a sea-proven captain at the wheel of my schooner in the midst of a raging gale, howling with laughter as I face the storm. My giddiness battles with fears of losing it all, not fear in experiencing it.

My ship is a quirky one. Many are confused by it or laugh a bit over its route. From many viewpoints, it’s not the most successful of vessels. But it’s mine more and more every day.

I can finally say I’m really learning to sail it.

I’m a late-bloomer. I know people who had a vision in their teens and twenties and haven’t wavered much through the years I’ve known them. I’ve always been jealous of that consistency and frustrated with my own inability to emulate that behavior. I’ve bounced from one thing to the next, immersing myself in the moment but never being able to say, “This is it!”.

While I’m having a blast on my ship, it has a few holes in the hull. Income and medical needs are two that would sink or dry-dock me without the support of others. I’m not alone in that; we all rely on other captains and crafts in this fleet of humanity. It’s critical to do so.

Other captains teach us what they have learned of the seas. They offer suggestions based on their own travels. They sympathize with us and laugh with us. Sometimes we separate as friends and other times as foes. Regardless, it pays to remember they are sailing as we are: imperfectly informed, supplied and equipped. We can acknowledge that even when we disagree with course.

I’m hoping to meet a slew of new captains and their ships in the coming years. Perhaps ones who will help grow my writing career. Others who may help me flesh out ideas on Asian Studies project-based learning at the high school level, connecting youth with experts in music and other arts to create something new and culturally bridge-building. Possibly some will push my ship on a completely different and currently unknown journey. I’m open to it. Not knowing what will happen is part of the fun in traveling.

We shouldn’t be afraid. We each have a different way. How wonderful if we can embrace what is ours and moving toward the sun. It rises and sets, whatever choices we make.

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