When I grow up

Have you ever met someone and thought, “yeah…I wanna be like that when I grow up!” I remember thinking that a lot when I was a kid. But at my age, I should have settled all that stuff. Those “when I grow up” moments don’t have the same meaning. I should rephrase and think, “when I retire.” Or more accurately, “if I ever retire.”

Do I really want the kind of change that a “when I grow up” dream entails? After all, I think I have a pretty awesome life already. I work from home, have a house at the beach, great family, a wife who’s out of my league, nearly zero stress…life is good! What more could I really want?

Then along came Bob and Vickie.

We met them last night as friends of friends at a local marina. For about six months every year, they live out one of my few remaining “when I grow up” dreams. They board their 41-foot sailboat and travel the Caribbean.

Cue the Jimmy Buffet music, please.

Left-to-right: Bob, Laura, Donna, Vickie, Doug, Rebecca, and me

I love my house on this little island, my quiet beach…my whole life! But I would hop on a boat in a second to travel by sea. Well…if my wife would come with me.

On the other hand…

But I had let the whole sailing notion go as a bit unrealistic. That’s a huge lifestyle change, after all. And I’m not 20-something anymore. Then again, Bob and Vickie are a few years older than me. Out with that excuse.

I have already romanticized the whole “sail the world” idea so much that I can’t see any possible downside. I followed the SV Delos crew and other YouTube sailors for months while I planned my own future boat purchase. If anyone can sell sailing as a lifestyle, it’s that crew.

But then…I’ve already made a huge lifestyle change. I moved from a land-locked area to the South Carolina Sea Islands. That whirlwind process from idea to reality only took six months. Luckily, my family loved my vision of our new lives. A shared dream makes that kind of change much smoother. I don’t think transitioning to a boat would get the same reaction from them.

But with my older son in college and my younger son soon headed that way, a life at sea could work. Then again, my wife is still completely out on the idea.

Listen to me going back and forth. I could try to rationalize this all day long and shoot myself down just as quickly. I’m beginning to sound like Tevye and his “on the other hand” routine.

And yet I still can’t shake the notion of actually doing it.

Help! Is there an adult in the room?

Like most things in life, moderation should win this battle. A nice 22-foot Catalina and some weekend trips to Florida will pacify my sailing dreams. You know…baby steps. This doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing decision. My wife and I both need a better feel for sailboat living before getting in over our heads. And of course, I should learn how to sail first.

As I think through this dizzying mental back-and-forth, wondering where it might end, I stare out my back window. I watch an egret glide over the marsh, looking for a morning snack. A gentle breeze blows through the palms. The sound of crashing waves in the distance soothes me. I already have a “when I grow up” life right here. Everything I always wanted. More than I deserve.

And now I have new friends to give me more insight into the sailing life. Those who love the Beaufort area as Bob and Vickie do make living here even better. The people here truly are the greatest treasure of the Sea Islands.

Thinking of new adventures still excites me. But perhaps I can realize that kind of dream without changing my whole life. Now that I’ve grown up.

(Featured photo by Daniel Olah on Unsplash)

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