Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Big Chill: A Fundamental Difference Between Land and Sea

I often joke I have a master's degree in "chilling".  No television, no music, no distractions.  Just a good book and the birds chirping in the background is all I need to be content.  I can do nothing and I don't feel the slightest twinge of guilt about it.  I wasn't always like this, but after spending a couple years on a boat where you spend a fair amount of time alone with your thoughts in quiet peacefulness, I have, quite literally, mastered the art of chilling out.

I think this skill is one of many positive side effects of a life on the water where a day can pass without doing much of anything.  A while back I wrote how land life is inherently hectic.  I didn't think much about it since then until I looked around during this visit and noticed how so many people in my life simply cannot take a conscious time-out.  For some it's a choice and for others it's circumstance - but the end result is the same.  People too rushed and too busy to make time for themselves.  Most folks have to juggle work, social and familial commitments which create the "perfect storm" for hectic schedules and compelling distractions.  We run out of time. What's worse, we run out of quality time.   You don't have to abandon the rat race and live on a sailboat to get it.  Quality time can be stolen away in chunks.  It can be as simple as a walk around the block, the creation of a piece of art, a hand written letter or an uninterrupted heart-to-heart...It can be a yoga class, a warm bath, a personal meditation, or simple commitment to turn off the boob tube for an hour every night.  There ARE ways in which even the busiest of us can take pause and hit the refresh button.  Like everything else, it's about priorities.

In a world where toddlers have iPads, where teenagers spend more time texting than actually talking and where reality television has become the gold standard of entertainment - it might be wise to take stock of where you are at.  Live differently.  Make time.  Go outside.  Slow down and - while you're at it -  take a big, fat chill-pill.  You won't regret it.  Trust me, I have my masters.

Brittany, Scott & Isla


NatGeoWannaBe said...

Thank you.

Courtney said...

Chilling out is great, but I have to defend the texting! Some of us prefer the silence of written communication over phone chatter. I love conversing face to face, not over the phone, as I can't see the person's face, and the conversation feels artificial to me. Texting is like fast letter-writing, and for those of us who feel more comfortable living in our heads (we're PhD Chillers), texting is solace.

Also, like your photo, a boat hammock is a must, right?

chels-pup said...

well said! its a lesson i learn over and over again :)

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

I must admit I've never had a problem with "chilling" and doing practically nothing! Ken, on the other hand, has a lot of nervous energy. I think cruising will take care of that. Whenever we're sailing he can sit for hours just watching the water!

Even though I have no problem "chilling" in the evenings after work, it's not the "quality time" that you referred to. Can't wait to chill in the tropics ... on our sailboat!

Great post ... too many people need to get off that hamster wheel! =)

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