For much of my life I believe I was quietly waiting for my ship to come in. I say quietly because I didn’t talk much about it. It wasn’t secret exactly but the feeling percolated beneath the surface as I went about my life. That “ship” was vaguely defined; it could have been a great man or a great job or writing success, for a few examples.

The ship never came. It isn’t coming. What I see now is that the ship is already here. It always was here. Your life is your ship. What you build is the ship. If you sit around waiting, what you’ll have is a big pile of materials that never got used, that were never crafted into a sea-worthy vessel.

I’ve used a ship metaphor on the blog before when, a couple years ago, I said my life needed some tweaking & compared it to a ship in need of a change in direction. Ships don’t turn on a dime. They creak and groan, reluctant to leave the path they’re on, as they churn forward on momentum. The older you get, the slower changes come. I’m not talking here about quick or abrupt changes later in life that come, say, when someone has a heart attack or stroke and is then impelled to modify all sorts of things about their life. Or the person who abruptly leaves a long-time relationship or family for a fresh new one. Those seem different. Lifestyle changes generally are more gradual with age.

My mother was always “waiting.” She did not model for me the idea that a person is – must be – self-motivating. My father harangued and railed but didn’t teach skills or demonstrate how to build a life. Not surprisingly, none of my many siblings were especially adept at this self-directing business either, at crafting a grand ship for themselves to sail through life on. None of us, I believe, understood that you were your own ship and that it could be no better than what you designed. Further, I don’t think any of us truly grasped the role of setbacks and failures, that they should be expected and handled. Our blueprints were no good.

I do now see my life as a ship I built and continue to “tweak.” I put on a captain’s hat and found my way to the bridge. It may not be grand but it’s most certainly mine. I stopped waiting.

16 thoughts on “Ship

  1. Ally Bean

    Hear, hear. So true. I admire you for finding your own way, building your ship, and setting sail on it. In my observation many people build their ships, but never test them out, fearful of where they might go. Good job, Colette.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Colette Post author

      Oh, I dunno Ally. Your words are thoughtful and kind but I can’t take a lot of credit. I think realizing I’m the creator of my ship is the least I can do. That’s not inherently a comment on its qualities or my navigating. It’s afloat, let’s say that.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Susan

    I really appreciate this! I recently had dinner with the sweetest friend who was once my next door neighbor. We talk about everything , play catch up since we only see each other like every 2-3 months.
    At this last dinner, I became acutely aware that the conversation was starting to irritate me and I couldn’t put my finger on why.
    This friend has a history of job losses almost yearly with anywhere from a three to six month spaces without work. It doesn’t phase her. She speaks of the ‘Universe’ hearing her needs, references Tony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle, and motivational podcasts, and the need for her to be around people that have an ‘energy’ that is conducive to hers.

    I need the courage to tell her that she is not the ocean. She’s the ship. And right now, I’m figuratively not on board with her rationale for where she’s at.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Colette Post author

      Well said Susan! Thank you for sharing this. I have no patience for people who recite words, other people’s words, usually, in place of speaking truthfully. You strike me as a no-nonsense, straight-talking person; I can see where you wouldn’t feel you were genuinely interacting with this friend. “You’re not the ocean you’re the ship” is terrific.


  3. NewEnglandGardenAndThread

    Good luck with steering your ship. ๐Ÿ™‚ I spent a lot of corporate years in HR, and I always find it interesting when people sit at home bemoaning they can’t find a job. I think they forgot that companies don’t normally knock on your door, you knock on theirs.

    Liked by 1 person


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