Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Bucket … what bucket?

a somewhat delayed response to Tillerman’s latest challenge

Over at Proper Course, Tillerman has issued another group writing project: Come up with a “bucket list” of sailing accomplishments you would like to achieve before you die. This has been a particularly difficult assignment for me.

Pat has had a couple of goals suited to a bucket list. One is the idea of sailing in or off the coast of all 50 states. The other is his idea of sailing “around” the world … taking advantage of modern jet travel to eliminate the boring long stretches of ocean passages in between the interesting places: Fly to New Zealand, charter a boat there, and sail around New Zealand, and then fly home; fly to the eastern part of Australia, charter a boat there, and sail around the eastern part of Australia, and so forth. We wouldn’t even need to do the world in order – we might go to the Mediterranean, then Chile, then the Caribbean, then Indonesia.

But that’s Pat’s list, not mine. I’ve been having trouble thinking of what might be on my bucket list. Partly it’s because, like at least one other of Tillerman’s correspondents, I’ve been buried by my non-sailing life – I’m teaching a full slate of classes this term, and enrollment is up, and I’m seeing far less than the usual attrition, and the work the students have been turning in has had more depth than usual, and so I have really been swamped by the papers I have been grading. It’s a good news/bad news thing – I love the richness of the essays I have been reading, but they have taken away some of the time I would normally be using for other things.

I also don’t want my “bucket list” to turn into just a low-level shopping list of short-term fixing this, that or the other. Yeah, it’s a good idea to get the traveler on Black Magic working again, but that’s not something that would define, for me, what would have made my life worthwhile.

Looking at long-term sailing goals, I suppose one thing that would mean a lot to me would be to help Zorro to get to the Mallory finals, or some other national sailing accomplishment. This year, the Mallory was won by a skipper who chose to make the Area F finals not happen by not signing up to race against Zorro, and who got into the finals by resume when Zorro’s employer prevented him from going to the finals (he has since signed on with a new employer who is much more flexible). I want to see Zorro in a national championship, if not the Mallory, something else. And I want to be on Zorro’s crew, helping him do it.

And then Pat and I have been doing a lot of speculating lately … Pat’s job, at the moment, is mostly dormant, and we’ve been looking at options. Now that Gerald is off at college, we’re not tied to Albuquerque, and even with the real-estate slump, our house is worth about three times what we bought it for, and we have gobs of equity. We can sell and relocate anywhere Pat’s skills are needed – there are community colleges everywhere, so no matter where we go, I can find employment. For that matter, even if we go abroad, there are always schools dedicated to teaching English, so I don’t need to worry about finding something to do.

It’s not empty-nest syndrome that I’m experiencing; it’s empty-nest freedom. I just haven’t really figured out what I want to do with the rest of my life – except I do know that I want to keep working with the sort of students I’ve been working with.

Yeah, I know, that doesn’t have much to do with sailing.

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