“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…” – Dr. Seuss
I once heard that for as long as you were in love with a person it will take half that amount of time to get over them. I wonder if the same can be true for cruise ship life: I have spent three years living, singing, breathing it in. Will it take a full 1.5 years to find my footing on land again? It sure feels like it.
I knew this time would come; the day ship life would end and I would have to start all over on land. And while I wish to avoid it, the painful transition is inevitable. I just spent three years traveling the world, making good money while having no bills, living a relatively care-free lifestyle and doing what I love – singing. What job on land can compare?
But there’s a dark side to cruise ship life and only crew members have a backstage pass. It’s almost impossible to explain exactly what it is that has us praying for the end to be near as soon as it begins, but time and time again our contract does come to an end, we kiss the solid ground, go home, and then…
…then what? Most of us turn right around and go back: we can’t face the emptiness, the fear, and the pain of transitioning. Some of us are lucky, perhaps we have something on land to come back to, something waiting for us. But after years away, most of us quickly discover life on land continued to move forward while ours at sea stood still, and now we’re left playing catch up.
In three years time many of my friends have married, moved away, had babies, finished grad school, or have settled into their careers. In three years time I am still singing, step-touching, and clicking my fingers along to “My Girl”. When I realized and recognized this, I knew it was time to go. I’m not in my early 20’s any longer. I’m about to turn 31. And if I don’t do something about it now, life will pass me by, one finger-snap and “ooh-wah” at a time.
So here I am – in my childhood home, tweaking my resume and doing my best to prove I am capable of knowing more than every word to every top 40 hit in existence. And day after day I send it out, and day after day I receive rejection letters or no response at all, and day after day my confidence ebbs and flows. At times I sense my fingers drifting towards my agent’s contact address to type feverishly, “what do you got? I’ll take anything! Just get me out of here!”, and go back to the life I’ve grown accustomed to, but that little voice inside called intuition keeps me from doing so.
There is something for me here on land. And while it may not turn out to be as glamorous as cruise ship life, I’m looking forward to whatever it may be and wherever it may lead. I know every “NO” and every door closed is actually a “YES” from the Universe, leading me in the direction I’m meant to go. Cruise ship life is easy – the real world is hard. But most of our growing and learning and discovering what really means a damn are accomplished during the hard times. If I can just get through this period of uncertainty, this period of loneliness, self-doubt and pain, if I will just keep forging ahead, something is surely to come along in time. And I’ll know it was me and my inner strength which got me there, because I “made a wish, took a chance, made a change, and broke away” from cruise ship life. (Thanks for that top 4o hit, Kelly Clarkson) ;)