Often, when living the way I do, on a boat without most common amenities, it’s easy to feel ungrateful. My mind goes into this endless spiral of things I don’t have, and I start feeling down.
No living room.
Etc., etc,. etc.
I focus on everything that’s wrong in my situation, and vow to make a change. A full-time job, a new city, something that will end this abyss of living a step above camping. I am so intent on this that I start applying to jobs willy nilly, not thinking about the flip side of that coin. How full-time works takes up so much of our lives. How working at a job that isn’t fulfilling leaches our soul. How if I work full-time again, I won’t have as much brain power left for writing and traveling and backpacking and pursuing my creative joys.
Then, my brain changes course, and I realize there is still so much in my life that I do have and do enjoy and do cherish and feel thankful for.
I’ve learned to feel grateful for the smallest things in life, things that before, I took for granted.
Like my car, for example. I drove home from my voiceover job in Oakland today feeling positively giddy that I was flying down the highway in this metal unit that would get me home in no time. I lived most of the summer without my car, and found myself on an endless transit loop filled with a bus here, a BART train there, a ferry here, a bus there. It took me hours to get to and from work, and I spent way too much time walking from stop to stop with a heavy bag. But now, I have a car! A car that’s all my own, that can get me from here to there whenever I want to go! I am so thankful for this car it’s ridiculous.
And when I get to a place that does have amenities, like my Mom’s house, I also experience such joy and gratitude for the simplest things. A refrigerator so I can have a late-night snack. A stove so I can make a quesadilla. A shower and a mirror and a counter so I can get ready in the morning. An internet connection so I can watch a show before I go to sleep at night. And oh my gosh!! A washer and a dryer. What an amazing life to have these things!
I am glad I’ve learned to live without because it makes “having” so much better.
I also know that at some point, the boat will have these amenities that I crave. After it sails (the first goal), next is the kitchen stove with burners and (gasp!) a real oven. Then the toilet with its miniature sewage system. Then a shower. Then, maybe, a refrigerator or at least a bigger ice chest.
It’s easy to feel down when you’re in a state of “have not.” To survive this, I think its important to feel gratitude when you do have these things, and know that in time, they will come. Living in a state of less doesn’t have to be a life sentence. But living with mindfulness and positivity and gratitude should be.
Not having the distractions that come from a “having” lifestyle, like internet and a television, have forced me to go deep within myself and figure out what exactly it is that makes me happy, what I need to feel comfortable and secure. I think one first step is Internet, so I can write and research and work on freelance writing from home. I never realized how difficult it is to live without a connection to the outside world, bouncing around between coffee shop and library to get stuff done. So, I’m trying to find a way to get internet without a cable. Any ideas?
Living this lifestyle is a unique experience, one I shouldn’t take for granted. I’m able to save money from my voiceover work and have lots of free time. I live on a beautiful boat that will soon be sailing, that we can use to explore the Bay and fish for salmon and halibut outside the Golden Gate.
This journey I’m on is teaching me so much, and I’m thankful.