February 5th, 2002
Dear Family and Friends,
We have been living the cruising lifestyle for better than a week now, crusing south through Florida using the intracoastal waterway. We have soaked up the breathtaking views of the small secluded canals lined with lush green plants and trees, explored the small historic towns on the rivers and envied the multi-million dollar mansions along the way. We have fallen into a relaxed (not yet lazy) cadence where the once mundane chores of preparing meals and righting up the boat, for instance, become what there is to do in a day, along with reading good books and exploring new towns, of course. We have learned patience while we wait for bridges to open to let our tall mast pass under, experience less than quick service in small restaurants and conform to other people's rules. Quite a difference from what I have been used to in the work force. Yesterday we arrived at Palm Beach to spend my big birthday at the Breakers Hotel, an extravagance for certain! We plan to remain here until the winds are better (as in not from the North) in order to make the crossing to the Bahamas across the Gulf Stream hopefully later this week.
How did this happen? How did I get to be 50 years old? It was only a week or so ago that I was 37, or so it seems. All of a sudden I have lived more of my life than than I have left to live. So the question looms - what to do with the rest of it. Like money - how to spend it wisely. Most of us live our lives going from this to that, working, eating, sleeping, hiring out the chores we are too busy to handle because of all of the working, and paying less and less attention to our thoughts, other people, the landscape, all because we are in a hurry to get to work or do our chores. Impatience rules our minds as we hurry along. To what end? Is there a dream, an adventure, a cause pulling us, or are we just pushed along by what we have created, like being pushed by the current.
It is no secret - 50 is a turning point and the reason for this sabbatical, this time away, this change I have made for myself. But in the end, I thank God for the 50 years He has given to me as many don't make it this long. I am full of the opportunity that life is. I want to suck the rest of it down, noisily, with gusto, feeling every feeling, thinking every thought, living every moment. I want to explore the planet I live on, experience different cultures and connect with every human being I have the good fortune to meet. If I were to die today, right now, I would say that I am doing exactly as I want to do with my life - exactly! And I would contentedly go to the next world. How many can say that?
Thank you all for joining me in this special day and fair winds and far places to all of you!