My grandfather turns 90 on Sunday and, to celebrate, we are on a family cruise in Europe for the week. As our ship pulled out of Southampton harbour, my 5 year-old son looked out at the other large ships still tied to their jetties.
I explained that the ropes were required to ensure that the ships wouldn’t float off, and that each vessel also had an anchor to hold it down.
But once the anchor was up, and the ropes released, so long as the ship’s “driver” knew which direction the ship was going, it was safe to be free on the ocean.
What a fantastic metaphor for life. We all need a plan and, unless we have one, it’s best we stay put lest we float away.
It’s not to say that all floating is a bad thing. After all, life is what happens when we’re making other plans. But that doesn’t mean we always have to make a detour, when going from A to B. Having that extra time at place B, can be just as fun.
A ship in harbour is mean to be a safe one - but that’s not what ships are built for. I have to remember that when my comfort zone feels like the warmest, softest, fluffiest, duvet ever.
Maybe it’s no coincidence then, that I sit writing this bundled up in my big, woollen, Peruvian blanket, as I look out over the magnificent seas. I suddenly feel very proud of myself, having found a way to have my cake and eat it. Sometimes, I really am like my 3 year-old.
When Christopher Columbus looked out at the crisp, dark blue horizon as I do now, he had no idea what he was going to find. All he knew is that he wouldn’t fall off the end of the Earth – a total leap of faith.
It’s the leap of faith we all have to take when we know the direction we want to move, but we don’t necessarily have a plan.
Worst case scenario, you’ve done the whole go-round-the-world-and-end -up-where-you-started, Alchemist-style trip.
Best case scenario, you discover a new world.