Posted: February 28, 2023
Last year Chris and I celebrated our birthdays by skiing at China Peak with our friends Mitch and Quincey, but this year we were on a five day passage from Ensenada to Bahia Santa Maria, Mexico buddy boating alongside our friends Peter and Olivia – what a contrast! As always, Chris’s birthday came first on February 10th, right in the middle of our transit. Unfortunately, we spent his special day motoring rather than sailing, but I tried to makeup for it in various ways from a special birthday candlelit pasta dinner to many heartfelt affirmations of my love and appreciation – you only turn 25 once! With that said, I urged Chris to replicate my “25 Lessons in 25 Years” blog from last year, with his own unique twist. So, without further adieu, Chris will take it from here:
25 Lessons in 25 Years
1. Boats are a Lot of Work.
Starting off with the one of the most obvious one, but also the most overlooked. I must admit, I was naive at first when we bought Avocet to think we could accomplish everything on her to-do list in a year… but four years later we got ‘er done. Not without blood, sweat, and a good few hours of tears though. Everyone warns you before you buy a boat that they are a lot of work, and you never know just how much until you get your hands in there. Overall boat work has made me a better person though, and taught me the importance of patience and doing a job well done, but we get to those lessons in a bit.
Painting the Victory red
2. If It Was Easy Everybody Would Do It.
One of my darling wife’s biggest irks is when people say “you are so lucky” in regards to our life afloat. Why? Because luck had nothing to do with it. Luck is when hard work meets opportunity, and all we have ever done is work hard to make our wildest dreams come true. Cruising life has its limitations and the main one being its barrier to entry (especially with an old boat) but with enough patience and fortitude the hard decisions (and work) will eventually pay off. Make your own luck.
3. The Easy Choice is Usually Not the Right Choice.
We have no way to predict an future, but we are consistently given a set of choices to move forward. We make the best choices based on the knowledge at hand, but in my experience the worthwhile choice is usually the one most difficult to make. The easiest choices are usually the ones laced with shortcuts and shortcomings that will only screw you over later. Ask me how I know.
6. Knowledge is Free
Fortunately when it comes to making the right decision we as humans have resources to make our reasonings with research. Thanks to blog sites, YouTube
and those who have done the work before me, I have expanded my knowledge base exponentially, for “free”. The key take away is that knowledge can be taken from any moment, talking with someone on the street, or reading a blog post online. Keeping an open mind that you can always gain a thing or two about a subject keeps the door open for the tidbits you may have not listened to if your acceptance of new information was shut off.
7. No Advice is Bad Advice.
If you have ever done a boat project, you will know there is more than one way to get it done – and more than one person on the dock that will give their input, whether you as for it our not. Regardless if you take their advice, keeping a mind open for any and all information lends a hand at keeping a well rounded opinion. Most are willing to give their thoughts on subject they have experience in, even if it’s something you may be more fluent in. Hearing them out will give you the opportunity to see something you haven’t thought of yet, or support your reasons for not doing it “their” way.
5. Respect Those Worth Respecting
Speaking of dockside relations, I have met a lot of wonderful people and also met pompous a-holes. Respect goes both ways, and (contrary to popular belief) just because they may be your elders doesn’t give them the right to treat you like dirt. Your time is precious, don’t waste it on those who aren’t worth it.
6. Second Chances are only for Those Who Would Give One Back
I try not to live my life in a game of points, but there’s a special board for those who have done me or someone I love wrong. A second chance is only worth it if the one being given it would do the same for you.
7. Actions Speak Louder than Words
People say they will change, companies say they will cut emissions… words whisper, actions scream.
8. Take the Opportunities that Feel Right
However, you can’t take them all. In my line of work it’s easy to kill yourself with by “yes” to any and every opportunity because you just never know when you aren’t going to be called anymore. But it’s the day you start saying no, and sticking up for your inner worth that your profession can actually take a turn. I can’t tell you the times I have said yes to a shoot with sh!t pay only because I wanted to take it, then ended up missing out on a shoot with not only with fair rates, but would also continue my profession in the right direction
. It’s a gamble, and one I still take but at least now that I know the power of “No” I am better armed and comfortable with my decisions, preserving my time for the things that matter.
9. Taxes suck
Speaking of my job, one of the biggest things I have learned in my adult life as a sole proprietor in California, is that the 20% income tax absolutely SUCKS and our infrastructure isn’t even that good which is just like adding salt to the wound. Where is my money going, and can I please have it back? Thanks.
10. Greed is societies biggest detriment.
I know in my last lesson I was begging (well, asking nicely) for my money back, but here’s the things- that was my money that I worked very hard for. My longing for the money I earned is a bit different than the most powerful people, industries, monarchies, and governments that have failed due to their greed. It’s what propels the capitalistic market, and what further drives a wedge between “what’s enough” and “what’s to have.” The greedy person will never truly be satisfied.
11. Being your Own Boss Rules
Despite the frustrating income tax issues and the gamble of accepting the “right” job, holding the power to make your own schedule is quite nice when you get to decide when and where to work. Being able to accept editing jobs while cruising and arrange shoots around our “off season” at home is awesome… and even more awesome that my hard working wife keeps the income rolling while we are cruising thank’s to her business.
12. If There is a Will, There is a Way
I was raised with the saying “if you want something bad enough, work hard for it” which has rang true my entire life. For years people have told me I can’t do something because of x, y, and z, but I have continued to prove them wrong. It was no different than when we bought Avocet. People (rightfully so) thought we were nuts and wouldn’t be able to secure a loan, make the payments (in addition to Marissa’s student loans) and so on… yet not only did we secure the loan, buy the boat and pay off the loan in two years… we also proved that we were capable of living in a high stress environment prior to casting off!
13. It’s Okay to Ask for Help.
Even though we pride ourselves on being relatively self sufficient, we are brutally aware of our short comings. If took years to learn when and how to ask for help; with projects or with other problems. We are all first-time-humans and doing the best we can, it would be foolish to think we can handle everything on our own without a little help now and again. Even when you think you’ve tried everything… a second set of eyes on something can reveal something you haven’t noticed and get you one stop closer to accomplishing whatever it is.
14. Stay Humble
Just because you’ve done something 1000 times or for 30 years doesn’t mean you know everything. You may know a lot, but you don’t know it all. Be open, be humble.
15. Drinking Isn’t As Fun As They Make You Think It Is
In fact, drinking sucks. I don’t think I need to elaborate more on this.
M+Q are definitely our found family!
16. Family is Forged
…not just inherited. Respect and love is only granted to the ones who reciprocate. Just because you share blood doesn’t mean it puts you above those who don’t that actually put in the work.
We are blessed to have so many friends that we truly consider family.
17. True Love Shines in the Hard Times
…not the easy times. When life is easy and happy-go-lucky the days fly by; those around you aid in the serotonin and dopamine rises and good times are just what they are made out to be. Easy. It’s when life gets low, and depression has set in when you see who is still by your side. Those are the ones worth keeping around.
The last photo on the hard before we splashed in 2020
18. Boundaries are important and can be hard.
It’s much harder to say no than yes. Setting boundaries between friends or family is a difficult task but some relationships need set boundaries in order to be fulfilling for both people. My wife has mastered the art of setting boundaries with the help of a therapist, and has passed down the lessons to me – who also struggles with being a “yes-man”
19. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
There will always be disagreements, embarrassing moments, and rough patches, but the one thing you can always control is how you deal with them. Life’s too short to spin your wheels on the small stuff. Accept it, let it live in the past, and move on.
20. Self Interest is Primal and Ubiquitous.
Everyone has biases. It’s how we were all raised, but something more primal and instictutative is the drive to better yourself. Maybe it stems from the days of hunting and gathering, but one thing is for sure: it’s intuitive and easy to think for the betterment of yourself, only those with strong character show the need and want to care for others first.
21. True Happiness is Best Shared.
Solo missions have thier weight in a person’s wellbeing but in my opinion life’s most precious moments are best shared among those you care most about. We as humans are social creatures, celebrate the good times and be present in the bad ones.
22. Patience is Invaluable.
With enough time, any problem can be sorted out with enough patience. Example: I learned how to be patient after dealing with Lucas wiring while building my 1963 MGB from the ground up. I can’t tell you how good it felt to finish that project at 16 after starting it with my dad when I was 13… So take some deep breaths and chill out, yah?
From dropping the engine in
To sharing evening drives with my love
23. Politics will always be divided
In college I used to think the battle between right and left was so trivial. I used to think for sure! This malarkey surely had a finish line.. but after years of being upset and frustrated at the constant state of political division I found that there is no end, look back 50 years, same problems.. different year. Politics will never find peace, epically now with the technology boom and mass amounts of content being shared 24/7 the issue is not one worth being upset over. I see the grey hairs of those in office who have held a seat at a table for most of thier lives only to have the same squabbles year after year with the opposite party.
24. My Wife is my Best Friend.
My wife, my partner, my love, my best friend… Marissa and I have been together for a very long time (10 years!) and married for 5
. What I can tell you as a happily married man is that people still
make gross jokes about the ball and chain trope (which is gross) and for some reason think that because I want to hang out with my partner I am forced to do so against my will. I have never been one to need “guy time” with other male-friends, and never felt the need to escape the person I chose to marry… why would I choose to make the vow to be with someone forever if they didn’t make me happy? Marissa is my adventure buddy, biggest support and shoulder to lean on. So this lesson is a two parter: 1. Challenge those who make gross remarks by responding with “oh no, did you mean to let that inside thought out?” and 2. Don’t stay with someone who doesn’t make you happy. Life is far too short for that.
Our first photo together 2012
When I asked her to marry me in Costa Rica, 2016
Our wedding day, June 2nd 2018
My dad and I
25. My Biggest Lesson: Life is Short.
It is also extremely fragile. Loosing my dad at the age of 14 taught me a thing or two about life and the lack thereof. It brutally put things into perspective at a young age, making me face my own mortality and pushed me to eventually conclude the lessons I shared above. I mentioned it before, but we are all first-time-humans (that we know of, at least) on this big spinning rock just doing the best we can to survive and be happy. Life is far too short to not be happy and be surrounded by those you love and those who love you back. Oh, and don’t hesitate to reach out to a friend or family member that randomly crossed your mind to let them know you are thinking of them – no matter how long it has been. You never know when it will be the last chance you have to tell someone how much they mean to you.
So… yah. That is 25 lessons. I am not as prolific of a writer as Marissa, but I do hope you enjoyed the read. Not sure what the next 25 years hold, but now that my frontal lobe has finished developing I can only hope that I will finally get ahold of this whole adulting thing! Or maybe not. They say sailors never truly grow up, and I am totally okay with that.
Cheers, to 25 and (I hope) many more