Pressing the power button on my MacBook Air multiple times, I found myself faced with nothing but a black screen. I plugged the charger in, closed the laptop and waited a few hours.
Okay, let’s try this again.
I opened the laptop and pressed my index finger firmly on the power button. Nothing. I tried it again… and again… and again.
With several projects due, one of which I had not backed up to my separate hard drive in a week, I started to feel a tightness in my chest that I had not felt in years. Looking around at the people in the little Caribbean rum shop where I had gone to get free Wi-Fi, I tried to calm myself down and appear normal. I asked the girl behind the bar if she knew of any Apple stores on the island.
No. Of course, this wasn’t going to be so easy here.
She gave me the name of a computer repair guy in town and when I asked her if the guy worked on Apples, she told me that he eats them…
Since it was nearing the end of the day, I planned to go there first thing the next morning. Unfortunately, I would end up walking all over town and venturing to another town before I could find a technician who could actually work on my MacBook.
After finally finding one, it took him a day to discover that while my files were salvageable, my old MacBook was not. This was a huge letdown.
Don’t get me wrong, I was very grateful to only be two days behind and to not have lost two weeks’ worth of work in files. But now I was faced with the fact that I had no computer—the key tool I need to work and make money!
There was no other choice but to buy a computer.
Immediately I thought, I hate this life—it’s so inconvenient! I hate this job! I hate technology! I wish I had just never even left the states!
Handing my credit card over to cover the purchase of a new computer, my mind whirled with flashbacks of my previous life. Working insane hours every week, going through the same motions day after day, making a lot of money, but being miserable.
They told you so. Everyone told you that doing this so early in life was not realistic, that you have to work long hours while you’re young, save all your money, and wait until you’re retired to follow your passions… assuming that I was still able to do so by that time…
I knew getting a job back in the states wouldn’t be a problem—I had turned down several opportunities recently that would pay very attractive salaries and offer excellent benefits. There’s nothing wrong with that kind of life… not for someone who wants that kind of life.
I had lived that life before and I knew all too well it wasn’t what I wanted. I knew what it was like to be in a career that you’ve got no passion for, to wake up every morning and go through the same motions day after day, dreaming and wishing for something different.
I shook my head and internally screamed at myself.
Snap out of it! Right NOW!
As the lady at the computer store scanned my credit card, I realized just how lucky I really am. I get to wake up every morning on a sailboat, in a beautiful anchorage, surrounded by beautiful water. Every day is an adventure and always brings something new and exciting.
Yes, sometimes there’s bad weather.
Sometimes, when it rains really hard, our rub rail leaks into the forward closet where my clothes get damp and musty; or it leaks into the cabinet where we keep all our pots and pans, forcing me to remove them each time, dry them off and dry out the cabinet so they don’t rust.
Sometimes I have to go out in the dinghy in the pouring down rain, salt water splashing up from the chop in the anchorage and drenching me completely, just so I can find free Wi-Fi in order to complete some of my projects or communicate with loved ones back in the states. And most of the time that free Wi-Fi is comparable to old dial-up internet.
And sometimes unfortunate things happen—like a computer crashing.
However, those days are the exception.
There are plenty of days with warm sunshine, blue skies, calm water, peaceful afternoon hikes or swims, a lovely conversation with another sailor from a country I’ve never been to, and occasionally 3G internet speeds. Most days are spent writing, editing, or helping others write resumes and prepare for interviews that will propel them into the career of their dreams—all very rewarding in different ways.
Yes, there are highs and lows in this life, as well as in any life—not just in sailing or being self-employed.
But when you’re living your dream and doing what you love to do, those bad days don’t seem quite so bad… or so frequent.
As I write this from a shiny new laptop, I know that the expense set me back quite a bit; but I’m still okay. I have enough to eat, I have a dry (minus a few leaks above the water line) home, and I’m happy.
While I had a couple of bad days last week, I still love my career and my life of adventure on the water… and that is enough to carry me through the challenging times.
My career may not be bringing in a lot of money now, but I know you have to start somewhere and this is where I choose to start.
Everyone has different situations, different careers, different ways of life.
I am only sharing my experience as an example that if you are doing something that you are truly passionate about, that you enjoy… that passion will be enough to carry you through the bad days.
Because you WILL have bad days and there will be challenges that will overwhelm you and seem utterly impossible. There will be days when you question your decisions and even feel like throwing in the towel.
But your passion will power you through those hard times.
Do you love your career? Have you had a few challenging days that are making you question what you’re doing?
If you’d like someone to simply lend an ear while you work through your thoughts and doubts, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d love to be that person. 🙂