Lately, I feel like I need to use every moment to the maximum
If I’m not cleaning the boat, I’m cooking. If I’m not cooking, I’m making a grocery list or going grocery shopping (or simply trying to find a grocery store wherever we’re moored up)!
If I’m not doing domestic chores, I’m writing an article, putting a post on FaceBook, writing up a new product, or crafting emails to friends and family. And of course, there’s time with my daughter, Sienna – doing her lessons, playing games, organizing arts and crafts, feeding her always-hungry stomach and seeking out new friends.
By nightfall I’m too tired to do much of anything so I sit in the cockpit watching whatever’s on my natural TV screen
Sometimes it’s a boardwalk of people strolling along. Other times it’s an open bay with a flock of sheep foraging for fresh grass. You’d think my views (currently of the Greek Ionian) would put a smile on my face, but instead of feeling elation, I’ve been feeling a bit numb.
And when I get an unexpected free hour or so I flap around like a bird
Just over an hour ago, my husband, Simon, took Sienna and some other girls out for ice cream. They took the dinghy to a nearby tavern and left me in the boat on a bay on Maganisi Island.
Looking around, there are very few boats here – we’re all anchored with a rope going ashore to stop us from swinging. No one is making any noise. No one is swimming. There’s no music…It’s siesta time and all I can hear is the wind, the waves hitting the beach and the crickets cricketing. Occasionally there’s a bee that flies by and then leaves as quickly as he came.
I also hear the low murmur of a Turkish Gullet passing by out on the open sea
I glance at the gullet thinking, ‘I’m pleased I’m not on that jam-packed gas guzzling tourist boat!’
Looking around, the sea at the back of the boat is aquamarine and to my left and right I can see deep blue water with diamonds glistening all over. The island is green with olive trees, patchy brown with stone walls and a few buildings dotted around the hills.
You’d think I’d be melting in a state of bliss – wouldn’t you?
Not knowing what to do with my spontaneous free time, I crochet a few lines on my new handbag pictured above (I’m still learning how to crochet). Then I put that down and read a bit of my book. After that I get a couple snacks (pepperoni from Sicily and some crackers I picked up in Malta). Thinking I should be productive, I start writing an article about sailing through Lefkas Canal.
I then get frustrated when I realize that the Internet isn’t working – damn it!
My mind cycles through all the things I should be doing…I should make something for dinner. I should get the wifi working so I can post a blog. I should clean the floor – no one is on the boat, it’s a perfect time to clean.
Then it dawns on me that I haven’t stopped in ages – perhaps weeks
I haven’t stopped to just look around and calm my thoughts. I haven’t relaxed my mind in a very long time.
But sailing is what relaxes me – so what’s going on?
Before sailing became a way of life, sailing was the only thing that caused me to stop doing anything
We’d sail along and I’d feel, okay to slightly seasick, so I was forced to sit in the cockpit and just absorb life around me. When work got too much and I thought a nervous breakdown was imminent, I’d have hubby book a weeklong sailing vacation.
I’d sit in the cockpit, watch the world go by and felt a calmness wash over me
The forced calmness was a way for me to recharge my batteries, stop my thoughts and clear my mind. Knowing that going down below could cause full on seasickness I’d sit in the cockpit, and look to my left…and when that got boring, I’d look to my right. When I became hungry, my lovely husband would get some snacks.
When we were out sailing it was the only time I stopped ‘doing’ and instead just sat in a state of ‘being’
That was, however, until I discovered that learning how to crochet prevented me from feeling sick
On an off chance, I taught myself how to crochet a handbag while sailing from Syracuse to Taormina, Sicily. During the entire duration of the sail I not only produced a lovely grey handbag (see above) but I felt absolutely fantastic…and I mean I felt 100% amazing.
Usually, while we’re sailing and even motoring on a flat sea I feel anywhere from slightly nauseous to completely overwhelmed by sickness. For the most part, I feel okay…but I worry that if I move or do anything it could trigger a strong reaction.
Since discovering that knitting and crocheting prevent me from feeling sick, I’ve started to make a new handbag or hat every day. In fact, every port we go into I make it my first mission to find yarn. Can you believe that?
And once I start on a project, I feel as if I can’t stop
We’ll drop the anchor and I’ll sit in the cockpit glued to my latest creation. I’ve made scarves for the whole family, ten handbags for my daughter and a few hats for me and hubby.
What are the chances of using our scarves and hats in the Caribbean (we’re sailing there in November)?
I was so excited about finding a remedy to seasickness that I went OTT (over the top). Crocheting triggered and old version of Kim back into action. Instead of getting my ‘forced’ quiet time I became a machine – a crochet factory.
Taking a moment of contemplation, I can see now that I’ve been behaving like an old version of myself that I thought I left behind – the old Kim that worked all day long, never took a break and had to accomplish fifty million tasks in a day.
So – what is it with me? Why did I slip back into feeling this this need to constantly produce something or feel productive? Why did I loose sight of my ability to sit still and calm my thoughts? And why do I need a ‘forced’ calming mechanism (sailing while feeling seasick) anyway?
Whoa. And I mean whoa!
I left the rat-race, sold all my possessions and purchased a sailboat so I could calm down – so I could appreciate life more…so I could live in the NOW rather than being caught up with work, news, social issues, deadlines, politics, constant achievement and time snatching life sucking routines.
Well…let it be known that the grass certainly isn’t greener – even when you’re looking at it from a 56’ sailboat while sipping your gin and tonic. Over the past couple weeks I struggled to see grass!
What I’ve realized is that I accidently fell back into the habit of being the old Kim…The one I thought I left behind. For some reason, old Kim reappeared and took over my body and mind for the last couple weeks.
I sat in the cockpit looking at the lovely Ionian Sea thinking, ‘I should be happy, but I’m not. What’s wrong with me?’
We’ve certainly had ups and downs – good days and bad, but never did I think that Old Kim was going to return. And the crazy thing is that I didn’t even realize she came back.
At least I’ve discovered the workaholic, over-achieving, non-stop production being that’s taken over my mind and body. Now I just need to figure out a solution. Perhaps just knowing that I slipped back into the Old Kim will be enough for me to break free?
Or…perhaps I can give up the crocheting and just embrace my forced relaxation technique of being seasick? (How crazy does that sound)?
So what’s my message? What am I getting at?
It’s always been important for me to know where I am and know where I want to go. In my little world, I call it the next best version of Kim. Before I left land I wrote in my journal all about the next best version of Kim…I outlined what I didn’t like in my life and what I wanted instead. This covers material and non-material elements of my world.
If you read over my past articles you’ll notice that I wanted to trade in my insanely stressful work life for a more organic calming life on the seas. I wanted to trade processed food in for local fresh lovely meals. I wanted to spend time with my daughter watching her grow up rather than hearing about it from her teachers…I wanted to be outside and enjoy nature…to allow my creative self out (write about things that matter to me!) and to find more and more fulfillment in life. I suppose I wanted to be more at peace with life and myself in general and for the most part, I’ve achieved loads.
For over a year I’ve been very fulfilled overall…very, very fulfilled.
However, I lapsed. And I didn’t see it coming.
So…even when you do ‘live the dream,’ life isn’t over. Growth isn’t over. Learning certainly isn’t over…and life isn’t one big party of bliss. Who would have thought that a solution to my seasickness would have sent me tail spinning into a state of over-achievement and despondency?
I can see the headline, ‘Woman who has it all – the family, the yacht, the around-the-world-adventure suddenly gets depressed because of her secrete crocheting habit!’ (There you go Daily Mail…you can use that!)
It’s kind of funny – really… but on a serious note, I’ve been very down over the past could weeks and I couldn’t understand why… that’s not funny.
Sometimes I write things – articles like this and I wonder, who the heck cares? I also think that anyone that reads this will certainly think I’m nuts – I’m okay with that 🙂
But on the other hand, I hear so many people complain that when they ‘live the dream’ or when XYZ happens their life will be perfect. I suppose I like to write articles like this because our lives are not perfect. Winning the lottery or getting a yacht and sailing around the world doesn’t mean that life gets easier… And the grass isn’t greener because we live on a boat.
And just like anyone else, we have good times and then we experience lapses…
In the end…I have to say that I believe my life is more fulfilling (than it ever has been) because I often take the time to check in with myself, become very conscious of what’s working and what’s not…and then I give myself space…time to chill… (or as we’ve just seen, I don’t). But eventually, I realize what’s going on and make a change.
So…I might still crochet but I might also take time to put the crochet hook down and simply look to my right for a while…and then look to my left for a while…(heheheheh).