“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain ~
In the days of sailing, when maritime merchants, explorers, treasure seekers and navies ruled the seas there was one place they wanted to avoid if at all possible. And, that was the dreaded “horse latitudes”.
The horse latitudes are located at 30 and 35 degrees North and South and are in warm, dry subtropical zones. That amounts to very little rain and wind…the fuel of the vehicles of transportation of the day.
So, many times ships would be caught languishing in the horse latitudes for days at a time. Concern and fear would begin to rise up amongst the crew as to whether there would be enough food and water to feed themselves and the horses. As the stories go, they were also concerned about dead weight and felt maybe lightening the load might help them survive the horse latitudes.
As a result, they did begin lightening the load. And, no, it wasn’t those bottles of “yo-ho-a-pirate’s-life-for-me-rum” going overboard…it was the horses. Hence the term horse latitudes. Personally I think those bottles of rum might have been clouding their judgment just a tad, because there certainly wasn’t going to be any Yellow Cabs waiting on them to ferry them around when they hit dry land…but, that’s a totally different story…
I saw an ad on TV the other day and it gave me pause. An older woman was speaking. She related how she retired on a Friday, was in school on Monday morning, has a new career and is doing voice over work. She had reinvented herself.
That certainly is the spirit of today’s quote!
I think we all have hopes, dream, goals and bucket lists if you will. We begin by dashing out of the starting gate with the enthusiasm of a young race horse. We start to hit some of those highlights, but then things begin to happen and before you know it you are in safe harbor or the horse latitudes and have been there for some time. You begin to wonder what went wrong. You become disillusioned.
I will have to say, though, I disagree with Mr. Twain on one small point. I do believe we do look back and regret some of those things we did, because they may be part of the reason we’re stuck…in a wrong relationship, wrong job or whatever.
This feeling of being stuck…loosing your goals…your dreams or wondering if you’ll finish that bucket list is something I certainly can identify with. Life does have a way of sailing in with little detours.
For me it was failing health and a wrong relationship.
Now, take today’s picture for instance. I took this picture in Camden, Maine in 1990 (using my old SRL Pentax). Camden is a beautiful little sleepy hamlet on the coast of Maine, just east of Augusta, Maine. Some people may remember Camden as the location set for the movies Peyton Place and Carousel.
How did a Southern gal from Alabama every end up in a place like that? Well, I was sailing out of the horse latitudes!
My momma told me one time I was “adventurous”. I had never looked at myself that way and when I quizzed her, she said I was adventurous because I liked to travel. Well, guilty on that charge!
But, I have over the last few years begun to think I’ve lost my goals, dreams and sense of adventure. Being chronically ill will do that to you.
Then I decided…Whoa, wait a minute here! I’m not dead…at least not yet. There are other adventures out there. Maybe different kinds. It’s time to lighten the load of disappointments. And, with God’s grace I can still strike off some of those other “bucket list” items.
So, I have decided…even if I’m on a rubber raft, I’m going to throw off those bowlines, set sail and explore…dream…discover…
How about you?
© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.