They have an indefinite shelf life.
They can be put away, way up on the top shelf, and ignored for years. Yet, when the time is right they are ready to be taken down, dusted off and ready to go in a moment’s notice…
The enlistment was over.
It was time to go back to civilian life after a 4 year tour in the Navy. Enrollment was already handled for the flight school that was the next stop. Oregon was going to be new, but that was part of the adventure.
Kelly had just recently lost her job, and the tiny town of Ridgecrest, stuck in the middle of the Mojave Desert didn’t have anything else to offer, so she was going to check out Portland as well.
The big unknown was what to do about housing. One option that was raised was the idea of buying a sailboat to live on and travel around in.
That was just crazy talk to Kelly. People just don’t live on boats. Okay, not a big deal. It was kind of a crazy dream any way. We’ll just put that one up on the shelf, just in case we may find a use for it some time in the future.
I could live on a boat like this.
Ten years later, Kelly makes reservations on a local sailboat for a dinner cruise. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. An evening cruise on the Willamette River through downtown Portland, enjoying grilled salmon cooked right there on the boat, the wind silently pushing us along the river. The landscape was slowly ghosting by when Kelly turns to me and says, “I could live on a boat like this.”
Oh, really? Let me reach up and grab that dream that got put away so many years ago and dust it off. Yep, it’s still there, ready to go. So we run with it. How much will it cost? What all is involved? What size of boat would we want or need? How do we find the answers to our questions?
It’s been ten more years since that evening. We’ve been chasing that dream the whole time. It has been a bit of a winding road as we move towards making the dream our reality. The important thing is that we are still making progress. The dream is still alive so we know that it wasn’t just a passing fancy.
There are still more questions than answers. We’ve been sitting on and sailing on boats every chance we get. Crewing on a local racing boat. Sailing at every opportunity. Going to boat shows. Walking the docks. Spending hours on yacht world.com, discussing all the possibilities. Trying different ways to fund our dream.
The important point is that the dream has always been there. Even when we had put it up on the shelf, it was still there, waiting for us.
Dreams are like that.
They don’t expire.
They don’t go bad. Sometimes they grow and mature into slightly different versions of themselves. Other times, they are waiting for us to grow into them. To grow our belief and vision big enough to make the dream come true.
The boat dream started as a different way to put a roof over our heads. It didn’t begin as a way to explore the world around us. Now that we are a family of four, it has become just that. A way to show the kids that we live in a big, wonderful world. That there are so many amazing places and people out there that it just doesn’t make sense to live your entire life in one place.
When it began, the “perfect” boat was over 40 feet long and cost around $100,000. Now, the “perfect” boat is about 35 feet long, much older and is in the $40,000 range. It is much narrower and built much more sturdy. It is designed to handle the rough seas of the open ocean, not just to accommodate us with 6 friends for drinks at the dock or out for a day cruise.
During the time that dream spent on the shelf, we changed and grew. Our family grew, we experienced more and our horizons opened up as well. That is okay, dreams are pliable enough to handle growth.
What dreams do you have sitting on a shelf, collecting dust, waiting for the right time? Waiting for you to grow into them.
Isn’t it time to look through those shelves and see what is up there?