Last weekend, a friend hosted me for my first exploration into historical Charleston, SC. As I sat in contemplation at the end of her long dock, several unusual boats drifted or motored past. The first was a small trolling boat – and the elderly dark-skinned man aboard tipped his cap in pure Southern style. Next came a deluxe triple-decker fishing boat whose captain sported a white yachting cap – but he did not even notice my presence. A woman in a blue kayak-like boat used her feet to propel herself along.
I closed my eyes to bask in the sun, but soon was roused by the chugging sound of a massive Coast Guard boat complete with bright orange cranes. To my surprise, from the opposite direction paddled this lone woman in a bikini. I asked if I could take her photo alongside the Coast Guard boat, since all she needed to get herself from here to there was a board and a paddle! What contrast!
The inspiration for this blog was born when I spotted this nearby sign.
Slow! You are in charge of your own wake.
Aren’t we all? I thought about the various ways people travel through life – some at breakneck speed, some at a slower pace. Some, like me, have gone through life unconsciously for years before waking up to what is truly important. Some folks consistently leave behind healthier people and situations, but others create havoc and pain. We all leave a wake.
Adventure arrived the next day when I got to sail aboard the three-masted schooner “Pride” which is docked in Charleston Harbor. What made this treat extra special was that my friend’s husband had designed and built this beauty, as well as four others. For thirty years, they sewed sails, educated and entertained thousands of tourists, rode out storms, and raised two daughters together. I got to see the galley (smaller than my couch) where she prepared meals for twenty. The beautiful beams he varnished. A well-thought out design that has proven sturdy through the test of time, the elements, and evolving Coast Guard regulations. What a legacy!
My third day was spent on foot exploring Old Charleston, its architecture and history. It was a day of simple pleasures – gorgeous gardens and pastel mansions. Art galleries and fudge shops. Kids playing in a public fountain, and park benches shaded by massive Live Oaks. This cruise ship was docked in front of the famous bridge, and dwarfed all of the smaller boats I’d witnessed. Again the question – how big a life do I want to live? When is enough materialism enough? Am I leaving behind lessons and a legacy that will stand the test of time?
Someone I know went to a funeral recently for a 48 year old woman who was relatively healthy before her diagnosis three months ago. At her wake, these words shook him to the core with their simplicity and wisdom. They were read by her son:
In lieu of flowers, my mom would want you to read to your kids, go play outside, and say please and thank you.
Think: What kind of ripples have you generated in your life? Decide what style of life you want to live going forward. What legacy and lessons are most important to you?
Say: Write your own eulogy. Then file it in your journal or will.
Do: Pick one activity that has been on your priority list for a while now and do it. Today.