Reading Time: 4 minutes

Heading Level 4

If you tried to send me a Linkedin request over the past dozen years or so, chances are I didn’t see it. Apologies if you think I was ignoring you. Please don’t take it personally. I was ignoring Linkedin.

Linkedin

A few months ago, I updated my Linkedin profile. I had originally set up my profile over a dozen years ago and wrote nothing on it. Current employer and title – that’s it. Andrew equates it to the equivalent of tumbleweeds. In large part, this was because I was happy where I was and didn’t need to be bothered with having recruiters solicit me. 

So while I was doing my rounds at the office saying my goodbyes, I decided to use Linkedin as a communication tool for the rest of my business contacts outside of Warner Bros. to let them know I had retired.

When it comes to Linkedin, my approach is to only accept connections with people I have worked with or went to school with. Basically, anyone I can readily vouch for in terms of abilities and competencies in a professional setting. Others seem to treat it as yet another social media platform to collect as many connections as they can.

I will probably go the other direction and cull individuals that I am really no longer in touch with, but I get ahead of myself.  

Adios

Over a weekend, I started to backfill content on my profile. I put all the impressive accomplishments from my resume on there and then (after a moment of reflection) got rid of all of it. I just put the names of the companies and the years of employment. I was done marketing my skills. I didn’t need a website profile to showcase abilities for a life I no longer want to pursue.

Linkedin also provides a feature where you can write articles. I was on a writing kick for serenadewind.com so I decided why not write a short blurb on my retirement. It was then that an article was going around Linkedin that drew my attention.

David Brook’s 5 minute TED Talks video Should you live for your resume…or your eulogy? The timing of this was uncanny. If you have 5 minutes to spare, it is well worth seeing. In this video, Mr. Brooks refers to a book written in 1965 by Joseph Soloveitchik called “The Lonely Man of Faith.”

Taking stock of life

This personal exercise came in handy for me to give some guidance to my mom who seems to have come untethered in recent months. I elaborated on this in a few blog posts and suffice it to say she is still in the midst of figuring this stuff out. I must admit that it is probably a harder thing to do after having a lifetime of habits and beliefs that spans 70+ years as opposed to 40+ years. 

Andrew and I married and moved in together a couple months before my father passed away. I wanted to live closer to my mom in the event that she needed any help. Within the first 6 months after the funeral, she completed the following:

  • sold a rental property,
  • bought a 2-bedroom condo with the proceeds,
  • downsized from a 4 bedroom, 3-car garage house,
  • did renovations on the 2-bedroom condo,
  • moved in, and
  • found a tenant to lease out her old place

So while Andrew and I lived close by, my mom didn’t really lean on us. Ironically, she is doing so now.

Why, after 5 years, is this happening? 

Second Mountain

Thankfully I had done my own work sorting out what I was planning to do with the rest of my life. I had a little head start in helping her redirect and not fall apart. I keep reminding her who she is and that what she is experiencing now is momentary. It is not permanent. 

She asks me for quick fixes. She prays incessantly, but has little faith. I take her through the various stages I went through and chronicled here on serenadewind, such as:

While many of you may have gone through this with your parents, this is new to me … this feeling of the student becoming the teacher. I am showing her the way to figure out what is her second mountain and how to live for her eulogy. 

In the words of Reinhold Niebuhr:

Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope

Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved by faith

Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we must be saved by love

No virtuous act is quite as virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as it is from our standpoint. Therefore we must be saved by the final form of love, which is forgiveness.

 

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In Project Slocum Part 3 of 5, we provide updates on a few different topics since they all seem to interplay this week leading up to our trip to Ft. Lauderdale.

The Voyager’s Handbook

A few days ago, we began to read this 500+ page book by Beth Leonard. Ryan & Sophie Sailing recommended the book, saying that it can be found in almost every blue-water cruiser’s bookshelf. Based on this, we decided to purchase the second edition.

So far, I have read through 4 chapters, and the book has lived up to its endorsement. Here are some highlights that resonated with me:

  • the person who left vs the person who returned
  • never-ending series of extreme highs and intense lows
  • process of growth and change in relationships

I will try to elaborate on each point in turn below.

The person who left

  • viewed time as something to be constantly filled or lost forever
  • too busy earning money to do simple tasks such as cleaning the house or baking bread
  • never spent more than 48 hours alone with her partner over the course of their 4-year relationship

The person who returned

  • time is the only space within which the soul can expand
  • learned that no amount of money can compare with the value of self-sufficiency
  • trusted her partner with her life and had been trusted with his

Roughly 30-years later, I find myself in the same position as Beth when she wrote this passage. It is also encouraging to see her journey as I have put faith in launching myself into a new life with no guarantees. I am putting faith in our future sailing vessel, in Andrew and in myself. 

A never-ending series of extreme highs and lows

Voyaging Life

The essence of voyaging lies in trading the comforts of shore life for a wide range of vivid experiences. Voyaging is a life of extreme highs and lows – from admiring the sun setting behind the twin peaks of Bora-Bora to being hove-to in a gale off Durban while seawater drips into your bunk. Distilling these extremes into words like “fun” or “pleasant” misses the essence of life.

Shore Life

Emotional extremes are the antithesis of what we strive for ashore. The average American equates success with security, stability, comfort and convenience. Extremes are kept to manageable and predictable levels. But when you cut out the lows, you also truncate the highs.

A few weeks ago as I was having lunch with a close friend and telling her my decision to quit my job, I described this to her in so many words. Once again, I take solace in the fact that we all are experiencing the same human condition. Some have the ability to act upon it now. Some have accepted their lot in life. Still others may embark on a transition soon.

A process of growth and change in relationships

One of the features of this new lifestyle that I look forward to the most is to spend more time with my best friend. Facing adversity, exposing our vulnerabilities, and quite frankly learning more about each other.

When we first met, Andrew was a fairly open book. He felt comfortable relaying his thoughts in an unfiltered, raw way so that I could understand him. On the other hand, I am quite edited in how I communicate. It’s a habit formed and refined over many years.

How liberating would it be to finally strip away the layers and show our true selves? 

 

To fly or not to fly

The day before our scheduled departure for Ft. Lauderdale, we had a final call with the owner. 

He and his wife had arrived from the Caribbean a couple days earlier. They experienced wall-to-wall, 24/7 news coverage about the coronavirus pandemic. Residents and visitors in Florida had not yet experienced the restrictions that were already introduced in California, Washington and New York. 

We talked about where we both stood and our comfort level about meeting despite social distancing guidelines. The owner is an older gentleman, and quite frankly we did not want to put him at risk. He was confident and in good health, as were we. 

Call it providence, but when I had quit my job, both Andrew and I got a full medical work-up to make sure we were healthy enough to embark on a cruising life. The timing could not have been more appropriate to assess any underlying or undiagnosed condition that would haunt us if we were to travel, now with the threat of contracting coronavirus. We were both issued a clean bill of health, with Vitamin D being the only deficiency we were experiencing.

With full confidence on both sides of the coast, we agreed to meet at our hotel lobby in a couple days. 

 

What are we not paying attention to?

The entire world is hyper-focused on COVID-19. While that has everyone’s attention, one begins to wonder: where are our blindspots? What are we not paying attention to that might come back to bite us? With those thoughts now issued into the universe, no doubt answers will play out.

At the same time, the pandemic we all face today brings to stark relief the same considerations Andrew and I made over 2 years ago when we first put up the whiteboard. We considered all the stressors that we could face in the future. While pandemic was not listed, our answer to this is no different than our answer to all the other stressors.

We have faith in ourselves and in each other to figure it out. Unlike the majority of our peers, we decided to focus inward for the solutions. Rather than stockpile, close the doors and hunker down, we are venturing forth into the world without fear and accepting fate. If anything, COVID-19 is a reminder that life is too short. We only have one shot at it. Why piss it away on the daily grind? 

Why not make it count? 

Reading Time: 2 minutes

“Originality thrives in seclusion, free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone – that is the secret of invention. Be alone – that is when ideas are born.”

Nikola Tesla

Selectively Social

Upon first meeting either Andrew or I, many people are surprised to find out that we are both introverts. We are selectively social because we dislike shallow small talk. Spending too much time with other people leaves us feeling drained. We are sensitive to our surroundings: loud din in crowded restaurants, how the environment looks, how many people there are, and the noise level can deplete our energy stores leaving us irritable. There are physical consequences as well which commonly includes headache, muscle fatigue, and exhaustion. 

At the same time, we are friendly and approachable, While we prefer meaningful conversation, we are good at making light chit chat. So while some may call this being an ambivert , perhaps we can all agree that everyone will fall somewhere along the spectrum and not at the extremes. We are social introverts.

These days as we are sharing our story, we are being selectively social. It’s the only way to get through the day before reaching the brink of utter exhaustion. At the same time, we find it also fundamentally important to share this experience with others. Luckily we can do this in a variety ways, including here on serenadewind.com. 

Finding Time to be Still

During these early months of retirement, I am scheduling a few social interactions to reconnect with friends from the past. Mostly, however, I am leaving the calendar relatively clear to allow time for introspection. That’s a difficult concept in this current “culture of personality” that relies on proving oneself, group think, and collaboration for success. We are in an era that rewards charisma in leaders over substance.

Much like in the message provided in Susan Cain’s TedTalks, we historically came from a “culture of character.” The essence of what was inside a person is what defined him or her. We admire Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Gandhi, and Eleanor Roosevelt. All were transformative leaders who described themselves as quiet, soft-spoken or shy. 

I chose the Tesla quote above because it reinforces the message that solitude is the key to creativity, to break-through thoughts, and to innovation. It is the birthplace of ideas. 

The Gift of Time

I give myself this gift of time. To go into the proverbial (or actual) wilderness. To be alone, but not lonely. Generate my own ideas and have my own revelations. 

Susan Cain, the author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, is an introvert. So as she gets up to present from the TED2012 stage, bag in hand, it is not a comfortable experience. But it’s an important one, and that’s the point.

Selectively Social Theme

The voyager’s journey is one that is in pursuit of these quiet moments of introspection. The theme of being selectively social is echoed in the following stories: