Hello again friends. Happy to report back so soon after my blog post (if you're keeping tabs). This one's going to be a little bit different, and I hope you can bear with me. One wonderful element of this trip has been my resurgence in the activity of reading. After fifth grade I fell off the reading wagon and never really got back onto it (universal feeling?).
Part of the reason that this experience of reading again is so fun for me is because it's brought me to connect with people across the boat who I may or may not have been super intimidated by pre-book-swap (shoutout chief scientist Hilary). With these new people came new books. One specifically named The Argonauts has been in the forefront of my mind lately (lmk if you've read it I'd love to discuss).
Among a myriad of other topics, themes, and conversations one thing that struck me was a section about the author's experience with the feeling of 'realness'. To pull this out of the abstraction that you may think of when some rando on the internet who's supposedly sailing a boat with a close friend/relative of yours tells you that they were interested in 'feeling real' I'll provide an excerpt from the book to give you some context:
"Any fixed claim on realness, especially when it is tied to an identity, also has a finger on psychosis. [rather] one can aspire to feel real, one can help others to feel real, and one can oneself feel real".
So why is this relevant to me (and maybe you?)? I've spent the past year doing new things: I dedicated my summer to work that challenges and fulfills me in ways that little other things do, I spent 4ish months living/studying in Bergen, Norway, and then came to this program to dive into science and sailing. The time I spent between these periods didn't amount to more than two weeks.
This has meant that I've spent a lot of time in transition, building relationships, navigating those relationships, finding space for myself in the world, and lots of goodbyes. This would undoubtedly make anyone reflect, and as a self-ascribed 'overthinker', I've spent my fair share of time wondering about everything I've learned.
This is my big takeaway:
To me life has color and meaning not because of a God, or a job, or a passion but rather because of the people in my life who I've had the chance to be in the orbit of. I've learned how to love, how to trust, how to challenge myself, how to be secure in myself, and how to ask questions from the people around me who've been gracious enough to share a bit of themselves with me. I used to think that it was me against the world and that I could find a purpose and a reason for existing by thinking hard enough, on my own, and without depending on other people. Instead, this year I've learned that thinking and self-improvement aren't going to get me to be able to cope with my existence, the world we live in, or problems in my life but rather it's sharing myself with people who share themselves with me.
Becoming more adept and sail handling, remembering the lines, or being able to figure out true wind are not the things that have made me feel happiness to the extent of realness that I seem to be in the pursuit of. Rather it's been the late-night conversations with any member of B-Watch on the Cabin Top with tea, singing with anyone and everyone while cleaning (or doing anything?), asking about people's stories, reading my friends' blog posts about what they've learned, seeing the everyone's art in the gallery walk, and discussing books I love with interesting people that have made me feel the finger tingling, heart bursting, tear jerking, nervous laughter love that seems to make everything ok.
I'm so thankful to have had the privilege to get to know every single person on this boat and I would write a love letter to everyone if I could, but instead I'll leave it at this. To you all: I'm so glad we were able to spend this space and time together. Without you I would be a different woman, I'm not sure exactly how (as I still have to process a lot) but I'd be a hell of a lot more cynical, ignorant about the power of a full moon to make you want to talk to your spirit guides (thanks Gabby for that one), and less apt to view love as the condition for finding meaning in life rather than knowledge. For that I thank you and bid you adieu.
Liv Clarke, B-Watch (Barnacle Baddies), Boston College
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