It is said around the time that Christopher Columbus set sail, that the English pirate Drake was raking Spanish holdings up the west side of the Americas. As Columbus had sailed into the unknown, his fearful crew was allegedly on the brink of mutiny – mutiny, rather than come to the edge of…whatever. Columbus, in this perilous atmosphere, made a stark entry each day in his logbook: “Sailed on.”
More often than not, were I to keep a logbook, I think that my entries might be quite the same, as are my days. Wake up…work, kids, clean, errands, food…sleep. Repeat. “Sailed on.” When I am honest, there are often times that I find myself questioning, “Is this all there is to life?” I’m convinced that monotony must be the cause of many mid-life crises. We get stuck in the rhythm of our days, realize that life could realistically be half over, and feel a desperate need to break free from our own restraints, explore beyond the boundaries of our own boredom.
However, we all too often live our lives looking off into the horizon for the next great thing…marriage, a baby, a promotion, vacation, retirement…we are looking to “arrive” and missing the journey. The thing is, we don’t know what lies on the horizon. We don’t know if tomorrow will even arrive, and if it does, we don’t know if it will carry promise or catastrophe. We might quickly find ourselves longing for the boredom and monotony of yesterday. Obviously, the key is to live with gratitude, finding value and joy in the day-to-day. But I would also propose, as I struggle to live this reality myself, that we should not only strive to find joyful moments in the tedium, but also learn to lean in, settle in, relax and embrace the restlessness of simply sailing.
Just as it is often impossible for a ship to perceive forward movement on a vast sea without any landmarks, we too are often unable to sense any inner growth or progress in life. But if we can accept and trust the process, the journey, the Captain, we will at some point be able to look back and see that it was all for our good…the sun, the storms, and the endless stream of days upon days. So for now, I prepare myself for whatever the day will hold. I’m sure the range will be vast. And tonight, I’ll settle in and close out the day with another mental entry, “Sailed on.”