On the 27th of July, I turned 47. Inching ever closer to that half-century mark, I sat in the cockpit of my sailboat, reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned about life on planet earth up to this point.
Below are 47 things I came up with (one for each year). I do not anticipate that everyone will agree with this list, as it is just what my path has shown me. We each assume different paths, and while those paths may cross from time to time, we are mostly alone to face individual challenges. These personal challenges are what helps to frame our opinions, and as we speed along like bullet trains on a track being built only feet ahead of us, we curve and wind and climb and descend in order to avoid pitfalls, get over challenging circumstances and sometimes, just enjoy the ride.
So without further adieu, fasten your seat belts, and keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times.
1. Acidic people should be avoided at all costs. They only seek to destroy.
2. Politicians have a gene missing that keeps them from being human.
3. What’s right isn’t always what’s fair.
4. On the Good and Evil scoreboard, Evil seems to be winning. For now.
5. One true love will erase all of the untrue ones.
6. Crying is proof of a heart.
7. Laughing is proof of a soul.
8. Not all women who give birth are ‘Mommies.’
9. Not all ‘Mommies’ gave birth to the children they raise.
10. Rain can fall from a clear blue sky.
11. The past can influence the future, but not vice-versa.
12. How you treat each day will determine how you sleep each night.
13. You will never be happy with where you are if you are not happy with who you are.
14. Givers are consistently happier than takers.
15. The center of the universe has yet to be discovered, but it is highly unlikely that any of us are ‘it.’
16. The world’s most beautiful sandy beaches lead to shark-infested waters.
17. Hollywood is morally bankrupt.
18. Kindness should never be mistaken for weakness.
19. Children should be taught at an early age that some win and some lose.
20. Some of the most valuable lessons in life come from getting your feelings hurt.
21. If you try as hard as you can, and fail, maybe you’re just not good at it.
22. Bad things happen sometimes. That’s life.
23. Trusting everyone is a mistake. Trusting no one is a bigger mistake.
24. The world ends every day … for someone.
25. Telling the truth isn’t always easy, but it is always necessary.
26. Sailing truly does take me away to where I’m going.
27. Cameras only tell part of the story.
28. A broken bone heals faster than a broken heart.
29. All men are created equal; it’s what you do with that equality that matters most.
30. Someone being born today will look upon the 2010s as a ‘simpler time.’
31. Having an opinion doesn’t make you a jerk. Insisting that the world at large accepts and embraces your opinion, does.
32. I prefer an honest enemy to a dishonest friend.
33. Freedom or Safety? I choose Freedom.
34. Nothing happens until something is sold.
35. Dogs are the most forgiving creatures on the planet.
36. No one knows as much as they think they do, especially the ones who think they know it all.
37. Ronald Reagan was the last man who truly deserved the title “President of the United States of America.”
38. Sunrises and sunsets give us all something to look forward to twice a day.
39. Nobody can let you down like you can.
40. Good neighbors are priceless.
41. If you look hard enough, you can find an exception to every rule.
42. A whisper can be more powerful than a shout.
43. Humility is the most underrated of virtues.
44. I learn something new everyday. Some things are worth remembering, while some are things I truly wish I had never heard.
45. Perception is reality to the perceiver.
46. Food tastes better in good company.
47. “Don’t stop believing” is the best advice ever given
Wherever you are right now in your life, try to find some peace. It can be difficult in our noisy world, but like anything of value, it is worth seeking.
Robert P. Poindexter
By Robert P. Poindexter
Joshua Slocum was the first man to sail around the world alone. He had little formal education and was dead broke when he set out on the adventure that would guarantee his place in history.
More than a hundred years later, his name is still spoken in reverent tones by modern sailors who were inspired to head out on their own adventure after reading his account of the trip. He wrote several books during his lifetime, but “Sailing Alone Around the World” was probably his most famous work.
It was April of 1895 when the Spray and her captain left port. And while I, for one, thoroughly enjoy Captain Slocum’s telling of this journey, it is the back story that I find even more intriguing. This wasn’t a man who woke up one day and decided to take off around the world and then write a book about it. This was a person whose whole life seemed to be leading up to this trip.
At the ripe old age of 14, he ran away from home to work as a cook on a local fishing schooner. At 16, he was working as a regular sailor on British merchant ships and by the time he was 25 years old, he was commanding his own ships.
Joshua would go on to command many more vessels before he undertook his voyage around the world, picking up vast amounts of knowledge along the way about all manner of ship handling. In addition to navigational skills, he also learned the customs of foreign ports and what seas he could safely sail across at certain times of the year.
Perhaps the most important thing he learned along the way was how to be alone. As a ship’s captain, being alone was part of the job even though one was surrounded by many crew. He may have had advisors and helpers, but the captain alone was responsible for the safe delivery of ship and crew. This experience would serve him well aboard the Spray.
Relationships he had built along the way also became important to his quest. For without them, the story may never have been told or may have had a much different outcome. A great deal of the trip was financed by newspapers he sent frequent updates to along the way. He received support in harbors he visited as well from those who had known him during his career as a sea captain.
You could say he had built up a very good resume and was using it to his every advantage.
If anyone doubts the importance of vital information on a resume, one need only look a little deeper at the little man aboard his little sailing ship, who circumnavigated planet earth alone.