No that is not a catch-phrase. This past year really has been the longest year of my life due to an intersection of the International Date Line and a leap year. Really. Because of our Offshore route, we crossed the date line and lost a day in 2007; we didn’t gain it back again until the spring of 2008, also a leap year.
Now, aided by Howe Sound‘s Father John’s Winter Ale, the local Chinese joint’s Dinner Combo B, and the Royal Canadian Air Farce’s last ever broadcast (its a family tradition), I am ready to ring in the New Year by looking back over the last.
It all began several hours earlier than it it did here in BC in Madang, PNG. It was the first day of Leg 5 of Offshore and it was of to… an interesting start… But the crew tried to make the best of it and we ended up making the usual fools of ourselves. Either way, it was a New Years to remember.
Then it was off to Micronesia where we spent a few days. Next was Guam where there was crazy culture shock. We sailed over the deepest part of the world in the Mariana Trench and saw temperatures drop dramatically from the 50 degrees of PNG to the mildly above zero temperatures of Okinawa, China, and Japan.
We all learnt about patience, teamwork, cooperation, patience, cold weather, rough sailing, patience… I temporarily took up knitting to get though the toughest leg of offshore with our 35 days at sea. Spirits improved when Katie’s boyfriend arrived in Hawaii to propose.
We made it home with few other mishaps. I turned 26 mid-crossing from Hawaii to Washington and celebrated with a rousing game of Assassins (which I did not win, but managed to live until early afternoon). I realized that not only was 2008 the longest year of my life, but I spent my entire 25th year on the boat. Literally.
Now that my time on the boat is over and my time back at school is about to begin, just what have I learnt over the last year?
- I’ve learnt a lot about trust and patience, especially when it comes to my future. I tend to want things NOW and life usually doesn’t work that way.
- I’ve been learning about contentment and being happy with what I have and the people I have around me.
- I’ve spent a fair bit of time reading about contemplation and have been trying to build a sort of contemplative spirituality into my life in a more meaningful way.
- I’ve been learning that friendship is hard work.
- I’ve come to see that, sad as it is, some friendships don’t last forever, as much as you may try to make them.
- I’ve been able to appreciate my whole family in ways I never knew I would.
- I realized that as nice as it is to be able to do everything on your own, depending on others is sometimes the only way.
- I’ve learnt (or perhaps re-learnt) that communication is key.
- I’ve discovered that sometimes doing what is best for you may not seem like it is best for you at first glance. (Cryptic, I know.)
And that is just the serious stuff.
In my quest for continually reading new and interesting books, I read 56 books in the last year, an assorted and eclectic list of both fiction and non-fiction. Some were good, some were better, others I wish I’d never picked up. All in all though, there were some great reads.
And now, what am I looking ahead to in 2009?
- I’m looking forward to going back to school and anticipating beginning a Master’s degree (pending acceptance into the program. All fingers and toes currently crossed).
- I’m looking forward to doing some more sailing as a volunteer on the SALTS ships.
- I’m anticipating a lot of great books to read.
- I’m planning my next trip. It probably won’t be in 2009, probably not even 2010, but its good to dream, right?
- I’m excited about re-connecting with some of my UVic friends who are still there.
- I’m looking forward to continuing involvement at church and getting to know more and more people as I spend time with the choir and in other activities.
- I’m looking forward to living!