Saruman “Time ! what time do you think we have”.
How much time do you think we have ? or to put it more personally, how much time do you think you have ? and by that i mean more specifically how much time do you have to do the things you want to do and here is a spoiler/warning : it maybe isn’t as much as you would like to think it is.
I have had this post on the slipway for weeks now, i wrote it once, scrapped it, tried a new version and tinkered with that so this is at least my 3rd attempt at this. Just to explain here that the blog is part journey as i move around the uk, and partially me trying to be interesting about boats, sailing and the sea : there is also a journey within the journey and that is me trying to do 2 other things and one of those is me trying to become a writer. A few years ago i was working on writing a story and i was hundreds of pages in when my computer crapped-out on me and i lost the whole thing ! oh and my external hard drive went at the same moment so its likely that it was a hack/attack and yes i lost months of work. I gave up for a while and talked about the whole thing with a friend who is a writer, he knew about some aspects of my story and told me that parts of it were dangerously un-printable or at least un-publishable except maybe as an online only book but did encourage me to try again and one thing that he advised me was simply the discipline of writing…essentially to sit in front of the computer and write 3,000 words EVERY day !. I wasn’t achieving that then , neither am i now but with the blog here i do at least try to practice the discipline of writing or editing posts most days.
This post is partially informed by my life in healthcare and i will talk about that side shortly, another side is the different understanding of time that long distance sailors often have and another part is a story from my own life. As a sailor i tend to think in tides and watches rather than in days , and by watches i mean ‘watch topsides ie on deck’ and ‘watch-below’ ie off-watch time. My sleep pattern even reflects this now in that at sea i naturally fall into a pattern of being alert and active when i am sailing a tide and then as soon as i am anchored i rest…and often take a short sleep then to be ready to move on the tide again. At home its not unusual to take a ‘watch-below’ sleep early at night but then be awake again during the night and with a need to be doing something, and right now that often manifests as my thinking and writing time.
Some visitors here will be aware that i have worked in healthcare on and off since i was 23 and i am 59 now so i don’t even want to work that one out !, a lot of my clinical career has been in various branches of intensive care and then after that i worked in 2 specialist teams that also dealt with the most sick patients in the general hospital : now after first retiring and then coming back for another go i work in a department that mainly sees outpatients and so my work is very different. As an intensive care nurse we did care for the most sick patients in the hospital and necasarily dealt with a high mortality rate, then as an acute care nurse it was part of my job to attend all of the medical emergencies in the hospital and that includes the cardiac arrests and yes that has a high rate of mortality so over my career a lot of lives have slipped away often when i for one have been at the extreme of focus and effort to prevent those deaths…and yet many are inevitable then or if not then maybe soon. Now : completely different except that it is our department among others that find the many things that end with ‘oma’ that might be life limiting rather than life enhancing. I hope not to depress or be morbid here just that i accept the time-limitation of life and that my belief, actually non-belief tells me that this time is all that we have and it serves us well to be aware of it and use it well.
Ok so lets lift it a little with a musical interlude and allow me to correct this blog’s worst omission ie no Led Zeppelin :
“changes fill my time….and people thats alright with me”
Ok so wakey-wakey folks we are only talking important stuff here : such as boats, life and boats, Led Zeppelin, and boats…..
I am going to make a major admission or 2 here , first that i wasted a lot of valuable time at school for example : frankly i was lazy and fucked around and so didn’t achieve anything that i could have had i actually done the work ! and then years later had to boot-strap myself into something vaguely like a professional life. Once i did know what i wanted to do in other areas i grabbed it by the balls though : life that is ! and achieved at least one thing that i really wanted to do. Second admission is that i never got to do the one thing that i wanted to do at school : i wanted to be a professional model maker and work in film, well i never got there but strangely things come around and here i am today making my first attempts at entertaining with film.
But time !, how much do we have an what can we do with it right now ?, Dylan says in his channel that most of you guys that visit sites like his and mine are mainly between 55 and 70 and at that age just how much active time do you really think we have to do the things that we think we might do or might aspire to do. The blog is partially named ‘mainly old boats and the mainly old blokes that sail them’ and if you are within the time frame as i am then you will be well aware that your age is already letting you down : i would guess with some back pain at the least, maybe dodgy knees, ankles ,prostate …whatever and the bad news my fellow old blokes is that it doesn’t get any better. I would be no good on the deck of a maxi yacht now, not that i ever was to start with but a session on the grinders would probably finish me for good. Joking aside the reality is that at nearly 60 i have to wonder just how much real active life i actually have in which i can do the things that i want to. Well i am going in a different direction now with my sailing life being a series of enjoyable micro-adventures and yes i hanker for a bigger one again but there is a second journey within the journey even aside from the new things that i am learning : one of these is that i am trying to gain the discipline of being a writer and where my intention is more than just being a moderately entertaining blogger. I did have a go at writing a story a few years back and was hundreds of pages in when my computer crapped-out on me and so incidentally did the external back-up hard drive so all that work was lost. I won’t say that the time was wasted because it was a good effort to at least try that and i did some valuable research towards the work.
This is one of those posts that i will come back to, work with and tinker, even now most visitors will get the gist of this, for now take a look at this especially the word images that appear during the film.