The first few times I heard the phrase from my elders, my enthusiastic young ears picked up on a sense of regret and perhaps even a negative sentiment which remained with me for years. As someone who tried not to live with regret, the expression was banished from my vocabulary.
I believe that as we get older and when we really start wrapping our head around concepts like the transience and the fragility of life, how nothing is permanent and the reality of how we might not have the boundless energy we used to have, we find ourselves making choices.
This is not to say we do not still have a world of possibilities in front of us or the potential to tap into them. It is about being clear about the list of things we really want to pursue in life, and in choosing to reserve our energy for those things that mean the most. You could call it “picking your battles” for goals and dreams.
I find that the option to make choices (and the option to change them if I want) brings a sense of peace and calm. It is a manner of saying at 49 years old, if I haven’t expressed interest in learning how to do something better by now (in my case, golfing), why should I start now? I can always change my mind of course, but just by saying that, it instantly frees up energy and “head space” to more actively pursue the things I really love doing and that appeal to my passions.
I am totally in favour of giving things a try and in putting in a valiant effort. One never knows when one might find a moment of serendipity. However, there comes a time when we should feel fine about calling it a day, if we find something does not mesh with our “plan”, our inclinations or our natural talents. When we find that energy itself limits our ability to do EVERYTHING.. we should feel justified in picking and choosing, and in not beating ourselves up over the things we did not do.
Also, if I want to scratch items off my bucket list, I cannot complete other people’s bucket lists for them at the same time. Frankly it would be a huge waste if I kicked the bucket before I got to share the thousands of stories in my head… so let’s just get real and say it now, pro golfer, boy band member and president of any corporation are off the table.
After years of doing things because they were expected of me, there came a point when I realized that I can’t be all things to all people, nor can I please all of the people all of the time.
In a sense, “that ship has sailed” is about being honest with oneself and about de-cluttering one’s mind from the peripheral things that don’t really matter, and to focus on the people and the things that do. At this stage in life, I know myself better, I know my likes, my dislikes and my true aspirations. These should be my compass.
“That ship has sailed” can come with resolve, acceptance, and comfort when it comes from a very confident place, and a place of clarity. When I say it now, it seems accompanied with a far warmer, more positive and more comfortable sentiment than I thought in my younger years.
“That ship has sailed” can mean many things, but for me it is a positive affirmation that:
– I am no longer living according to others’ expectations;
– I am no longer living according to what certain segments of society say I should be doing;
– I am comfortable with the decisions I made;
– It takes a lot of energy to pursue dreams… the dreams may as well be mine.
Did you enjoy this post? If you haven’t already, please check out the rest of my blog at andrebegin.net. From there, you can click on the “Follow” button to receive future posts directly in your inbox.
Also, don’t be shy, feel free to tell a friend or to share the link.
Sincere thanks for reading!