Countdown to cruising: Emotional to-dos

September 18, 2014: It’s dark out still. The rains returned yesterday, and drops continued to fall through the night. My breath feels caught in my chest, making this airplane feel much smaller than it really is. I feel a single tear stream down my cheek and for a moment feel a bit startled. I didn’t know it was coming. For many reasons, my emotions live very close to the surface lately. Today, my tear is the embodiment of the emotions I feel about going home to see my family and, for the first time, being completely uncertain about how long it will be before I return again. How many inches will taller will my nephews stand when I make this trip again? How many new wrinkles will I count on my mother’s pretty face after the next few years have passed? Another tear trickles down my cheek. With every decision, new doors are opened, while others are closed.

IMG_4809_Sunrise over the peninsulaNeil and I are on the verge of knocking on a door that is in many ways a portal to another world. Will we crawl through the bureau, like the children in the stories of Narnia, only to wish desperately we could find the doorway back to home? Will we feel content in our new world and all its beauty in spite of the challenges we will face? Only time will tell. So, we continue to tiptoe closer to that door, teeming with anxious anticipation about whatever awaits us on the other side.

We continue to work towards cutting the dock lines, and practical preparations for our journey consume us. As critical as it is to ready ourselves emotionally to make this leap, however, nowhere on our ready, set, sail to-do list will you find, “Come to terms with leaving our family and friends” or “Be certain we will not freak out at sea.” Emotional to-dos are simply not tangible in the way that, “Service winches” and “Buy dinghy repair supplies” are. The point at which emotional to-dos are completed is difficult, perhaps impossible, to gauge. So, how do we know when we are emotionally ready to set off? I guess we don’t—we just have to go. Ultimately, our emotional growth never ceases; that work is never finished. We all wage battles with personal demons and fears, and even the most loving and supportive of partners cannot fight those battles for us. Emotional to-dos are often processed privately. This is not to say that Neil and I don’t share our feelings, we certainly do. However, we try our best to not interfere with the other’s process and to appreciate that we absolutely cannot reconcile the unique emotional to-dos of anyone but ourselves.

The hands on the clock are accelerating with each passing day. In just two days, we are in the single digit countdown. Speaking of our to-do list, I’m grappling with a bit of guilt for traveling the next four days, while Neil is home continuing to tackle practical preparations; the type of to-dos in which my help would be particularly useful.

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14 thoughts on “Countdown to cruising: Emotional to-dos

  1. This brings tears to me also as you travel this emotional journey, I never knew that you would be gone for a long time. What is your timeline like ? I will be thinking of you two often and sending up prayers daily .

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    • Hi Carol! We are setting sail on Monday the 29th, with a goal of making landfall in Australia in the next 12 to 14 months. Of course, timelines and ports will vary, depending on weather, etc….but that is our aim! Thank you for your kind thoughts! ~Jessie

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  2. Wow. What a great piece.

    What are you trying to challenge Stormy for the best written sailing blog? 😉

    It’s funny, we just started noticing our “last time” stuff this weekend. The mix of emotions is amazing. We’re counting down until you cut the lines with you.

    Good luck and fair winds,

    Jesse

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    • I’ll take that as a tremendous compliment! The last time stuff is bittersweet…though I’ll say that the last few days have been radically different than the few before that. I’m officially EAGER to make the leap and feeling increasingly ready on the emotional front. We hope to meet you and your family when we make it down south! ~Jessie

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  3. From friends-to-be, we’re looking forward to getting a chance to meet you here in San Francisco. You are actually are doing what we are only prepping and hoping to do in the next year or two, your courage is inspiring and we wait in anticipation to see you in SF.

    Chris & Monica
    sv SeaGlub

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    • I like your term, “friends-to-be” — INDEED! It’s touching to hear that we are in some way helping to encourage you two. We’ll be cheering you on when you are in our position in the future and doing so as friends 🙂 See you in SF! We’ll keep you posted when we get close/arrive. Thoughtfully, Jessie

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    • Barb & John, Thank you for your support. We appreciate that God’s wind will be with us…we just really hope it’s coming from the north/northwest when we leave Washington!! Also, Neil has been enjoying catching coho with Brian during the last week. You have a great son 🙂 ~Jessie

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  4. You have expressed this beautifully. We are not as close as you are to life aboard, but in am already anticipating the emotions you discuss. I hope this adventure is all you hope it to be. And I hope friends and family will visit you – because that is what I hope for us. Best of luck!
    MG of s/v Let It Be

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  5. Pingback: It takes a village | s/v The Red Thread

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