Swing Set

Jul 30, 201308:34 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Thinking About Friends and Family

We meet lots of people on our travels, and sometimes we wonder if we can develop a friendship with them or not. We have met some of the same people multiple times along the way, but so far, we’ve just enjoyed their company, or not, while we were with them, and let it go at that, with no further expectations.

Take the woman we met at the library yesterday, Karen. Karen volunteers at the library on Mondays. She and her husband, Clive, have lived in Georgetown for 27 years. They came here when things were much simpler, and cheaper, before the big resorts came in and raised prices, and each little chicken shack restaurant raised them in kind, wanting to cash in on the quick buck, but making things difficult for the locals. Karen also blames the “outsiders” for the current crime problem. “Used to be you could leave your purse out on the porch all night and no one would bother it,” is what she says. I believe her. But everywhere we go, we get the same comments about “outsiders.” The thieves and criminals are always from “somewhere else,” like Jamaica or Nassau.

Karen and Clive now have their home for sale (she would give us such a deal) but not because of the change in Georgetown society. It is because they are getting up in years and need to be closer to better health care. But I’m getting off track, this is not my point.

My point is that Rosie and I, having picked out several books to take back with us to the boat, sat and had a most enjoyable conversation with Karen. During our conversation, the subject of missing friends and family came up. Karen and Clive have offspring that live in Canada, where they are from, but they are looking to move to Florida. It would seem that Karen and Clive have gotten past any misgivings about a need to be near their family in their older ages.

We would be mere robots if we said we didn’t miss our friends and families, and we do miss them at times. But we also realize that this life we are leading is the only one we are going to get, and having discussed the whole matter going in, we have decided to lead it the way we want to, not the way someone else wants us to.

Sure, it is not as difficult for us because Rosie’s parents passed away several years ago, and although my father is still raising hell up there in St. Louis, he raised me to be independent, whether he knows it our not (I think he knows now), and I think he has come to accept our decision to live our lives as we do, if not admire us for it. I hope so.

 

We decided a long time ago not to have children, so that part of the equation is moot, but even so, if we did have children, our obligation to them ends, we believe, once they get to a certain age. Nothing more horrible than having some offspring still living in the basement when they are in their late 20s...or even later.

Back to parents, though. I would hope that parents would let their children go and live their own lives as they see fit. Sure, guidance is good if it’s needed, but where would we be if the mother of Christopher Columbus nagged him at every turn? Why, we’d be speaking a different language! Wait. He was Italian. Bad example.

What about Charles Lindbergh, then? What if his parents fretted over every time he went up in some monoplane or another, afraid he would scrape a knee or crash to the earth in a fiery death? If he wasn’t allowed to become the pioneer he was, we wouldn’t have lindbergher cheese. I’d miss that.

Let’s get back to friends. Our true friends are happy for us, and we hope we inspire them and others to also follow their dreams. We learned many years ago that friendship can be fleeting. You think you may remain friends with a childhood mate, or a couple you meet along the road of life, and the childhood mate moves away, or the couple decides to get a divorce. Meanwhile, you think everything is going to move along and everybody is going to be chums forever, but the other people aren’t thinking that way. The other people aren’t going to think of you when that job offer from out of town comes by, or marital troubles rear their ugly head, or your friends do the most inconsiderate thing and up and die on you. Family members are the worst for this!

Shifting gears again to our potential new friend at the library, Karen. Let’s say we develop a friendship with Karen and her husband. Everything is great while the relationship is, well, what we would call “shallow.” We don’t know much about each other, the stories and jokes are still fresh, but as time goes by, familiarity comes into the picture. There is so much truth in the quote, “Familiarity breeds contempt.” Karen and Clive become comfortable with us enough to start bickering with each other in front of us. One or the other of them feels that they are close enough to us to start complaining about our behavior, and even worse, complaining about our behavior to others, thinking we may change who we are. Sounds like I’m speaking from experience. 

So, currently, we don’t go knocking on the hulls of neighboring vessels, wanting to develop any relationships. For one thing, people who go off to live on a boat aren’t the sort of people who like drop-in company. Not only that, we are at the point in our lives where we can afford to let things happen naturally, or not. We are actually happy with each other's company and can go days or weeks without other human interaction. We are fortunate.

We do thrive on the communications we receive from the people we have “left behind," so to speak. Although, we didn’t leave anyone behind. Our friends are with us every day. We also know that, in reality, if we weren’t on Facebook, of publish this blog on a regular basis, people would forget about us. Just someone they knew along their road of life.

But maybe, once in a while, maybe after they’ve just read a good book, one that makes a person think, they might give us a thought, and wonder how this all turned out for us.

Honestly, I’d rather they were too busy following their own dreams to ever have time to consider ours.

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