on being a ship, not in a harbour


When I wrote this piece I was in a state of flux, and now some four maybe five years later I can only gasp at how much we were yet to know.

It seems that when you leave the harbour the waves do get higher, the winds can be angry or still, and without a map or a chart to find your way, well you just don’t know what is coming.  If only I had known then what I know now.

We ploughed on through our adventure and have found ourselves in a safe haven of hope and lovely things.  We have friends that mean the world, who we would never have met had we not moved with the tide.  I have spent years in an amazing job, with wonderful colleagues and amazing young people, and everywhere we look the sun is shining today.

The best bit?  Well we haven’t lost all the good things we had.  We still have our friends, we talk to people we love every day, we are planning a retirement and will hopefully spend it in the beautiful town that has become home.  Unless those worldly winds decide it is time to move again, and if that happens we will set sail again, knowing that the journey is possible, and carrying the memories made with us every day.


for as long as I can remember I have had a quote on a wall where I have lived.  Several different versions, from the first one I purchased from a religious book shop in Liverpool as a student, to the present bought in a gift shop on the North Antrim coast several years ago.

You see I always understood that being safe wasn’t the same thing as living well.  Despite, or perhaps because of, Mum’s determination I would never do anything dangerous and uncontrolled, I longed for adventure.  I recall many arguments as I tried to explain to Mum, if she didn’t let me get lost, I should never find my way anywhere.

So, today I am thinking of the recent few months.  The upheaval of packing up a home, the chaos of belongings I had no idea we owned and the decisions of what to do with them.  The people left behind, the people still to meet.  It seems that the worldly winds are lessening, the storm is passing, but by no means over yet.  I awoke this morning wondering where I was.  I remembered, and instead of being happy in this, my happy place, for a brief moment I felt dissatisfied, this was not how it was meant to be.

The sun is shining here, to be fair it often is, washing has dried on the line, yet more possessions have been dealt with, and plans for the coming weekend are forming in my mind.  It seems to me that I need to pay attention to my own favourite quote.

‘a ship in a harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for’

I was comfortable in my harbour, and having been forced to set sail amid a storm, it is going to take time to find my feet again.  We are, I believe keeping an even keel, and the pitch and toss of the sea below us is becoming less unsettling daily.  Land is not yet in sight, but we are safe and moving forwards.




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