Monday, September 12, 2011

Another look at anniversaries

Annually, we celebrate birthdays, marriages, deaths, and other significant times in our lives. Some anniversaries are significant in the lives of millions of people.  We share memories about 9/11, such as where we were when we first heard about or saw those horrifying and mystifying pictures of the American Airlines jets flying into the World Trade Center towers. These images stay with us forever. 

But, some anniversaries slip by unnoticed. Their occurrence while imperceptibly commonplace, have yet to show their significance. In fact, I would argue, that unless you were fully aware, you would not have known that a life changing moment had occurred.  
Our home in Franklin, Wisconsin, the winter before
 we purchased our floating home, Troubadour
To honor the anniversary you have to recognize that a change has occurred in you.

September 2008, Labor Day Weekend, Chris and I are sitting on a bed in a cheap motel in Daytona Beach. We are in Florida to work on our boat, Troubadour, but it’s raining outside so we are watching television.  In Franklin, Wisconsin, someone has made an offer to buy our house. The cell phone rings, words are spoken. Our lives are about to change forever.

The lines of our comfort zones begin to blur. In the weeks after that phone call, we embark on an uncharted course. We have to steer our lives toward a deadline now. The closing is October 17th. The talks during our daily 45-minute commute to our GE Healthcare cubicles are focused on what directions the signposts in our lives need to point for us to make Troubadour our new home. 

We muddle through. We can’t believe it’s really happening. We share our hopes and fears.  We learn some things about how we handle stress as a couple. Mostly we realize we can change enough to make a dream come true, and no matter what happens, we will be okay. We can turn the toy box of our lives upside down and put back in all the toys we want to keep along with some new ones.

Commander Chris May retires from the US Navy;
 the ceremony held at the South Shore Yacht Club, Milwaukee, Wis.
To honor the anniversary you have to recognize how you live your life has changed.

In those weeks before leaving Wisconsin, we plan and hold a naval retirement for Chris at the South Shore Yacht Club in Milwaukee.  We live in our house for two weeks while an estate sale is under way.  It’s unnerving to have your privacy exposed for public consumption.  Our belongings, what has made the cut and goes with us to Troubadour, are locked in a 10 x 12 bedroom. We begin to tell people we are moving; first our friends, then the dive shop we’ve been freelancing for on weekends, and finally our employer. We are excited to be leaving our jobs, having chosen our own definition of “retirement”.  And like entering a new anchorage, we are a little queasy about how our lives are going to change. But we venture forth.

To honor the anniversary you have to keep on purpose for turning out your life.

Socrates said “Wisdom begins in Wonder.” Three years after that phone call in that run down motel on Daytona Beach, what we didn’t know is now part of who we’ve become. Our lives are different; our newfound wisdom is in the details of the journey. And yet we still remain committed to this life course on the bow of wonder.
What small, almost insignificant, event in your life caused you to swerve onto a new path? How aware were you at that time, that your life would no longer be the same? What did you learn about yourself and those around you during this new journey in your life? Anniversaries mark a one year passage of time, how are you different now? Are you on purpose for creating the life you dream of?

To read more about our beginnings go to - Troubadour Sailblogs 2008

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