Salty Anchor for a Captain

A while back I sought to get a dog to live with. When I first moved into my apartment I wanted to get a pup, and I planned on it as I chose to move in a pet approved apartment. My landlord then tried to suggest I move into one of the freshly refurbished apartments and reconsider pet ownership. A few months later and I met my girlfriend, when we ended up living together unexpectedly it changed my personal plans a bit and I couldn’t get that pup as soon as I’d wanted. A while later an opportunity arrived to get a dog and both of us wanted one. So, to do it the right way I went to my landlord and sought to pay the pet deposit and pick up the pup and give him a nice home.

When I arrived at my landlord’s office I asked about the deposit and how much it would be, and instead of offering me the numbers I was asking for he went on to ask me what kind of dog I was thinking of getting and when I told him he went on to rant about how much exercise I would need to offer the animal and how living on a second floor apartment would be bad for him. He told me that he’s seen it all too often, that a renter would think getting a dog is a good idea and six months later they abandon the dog. Which is true. That does happen far more than it should. He asked me what I did for work and asked if my girlfriend worked, he asked if one of us would be home at all times, and he asked a thousand other questions that he had no business asking.

I can understand protecting your property. You don’t want someone to get a pet which will inevitably destroy the carpets, you don’t want someone to abandon a living being, I understand those things and I get where he came from. But when he began to question my ability to raise an animal and my willingness to care for it properly, I started to get frustrated. When he told me that he wouldn’t allow me to get a pet while living on a second story apartment I asked him why they gave me a second story apartment to begin with. I explicitly told them that I was interested in getting an animal. He told me it would be bad for any dog I ended up getting, because we would have to use the stairs so much. I threw it back at him, growing more frustrated with everything he said. It reached a point where I stopped listening and told him I would get back to him with money if I decided to get the dog.

When I returned home, I explained what happened to my girlfriend and the thought arose to get the dog just to spite him. Hell, we’re planning on moving anyways, why would I care? But I stopped myself when I thought about how much extra I’d be spending if I picked up a dog now, versus in a few months or weeks or whatever. So in the end, he was right. I didn’t get the dog, and that’s fine. It doesn’t make him any better and it doesn’t make me any better. I chose to back away from pet ownership because I felt like I couldn’t give the animal the attention that I would need to give it while we live where we do. I was frustrated but it’s something we should all consider.

The amount of attention we can offer to those we care for.

It turned out that not long after that, my work schedule was going to change, and I wouldn’t have made enough to care for the animal regardless. So, I suppose I made the right call. I suppose he did too.

I think I can get caught up in proving people wrong sometimes. I have a lot of crazy ideas and projects that I think I would love to do, but the list is so long sometimes it feels as if I’ll never get to that point. That I’ll never accomplish everything I’ve set out to accomplish. Which I suppose isn’t a bad thing. I’ll never run out of things I’ll enjoy this way, but it’s difficult to determine how life will yank us around and make us do new things and different things and all of the things I don’t want to do.

That’s kind of a big aspect of dog ownership, parenthood, captaining a crew.

I have a lot of time for a lot of things, and I would love to spend 24 hours working on the projects that I enjoy without a need to cram all of this other stuff like work and jobs and sleep and eating food into the equation. Still, there is much to be desired in the life of one who does nothing but pursues his passion. We still need friends, relationships, family that we truly need in order to survive.

It’s funny the way my mind works sometimes. I can spend weeks at a time making plans and dedicating time I haven’t spent yet to projects that I will likely never finish. I can make myself work on music until my head aches and still find that I haven’t done enough. Yet, if I spend a couple hours a day writing something that I enjoy, and an hour or two with friends or family or my girl, I can feel complete and whole and just fine with where I’m at.

I think those things are here to be our anchors.

I spend so much time adrift in the sea of my own mind that I begin to get lofty ideas about what it’s really like being back home, that things aren’t going to go off without some kind of hitch, that everyone isn’t going to love me or love what I do. I struggle with that thought regularly, and from the perspective of a dude who is still working to build his audience, those fears are pretty misplaced.

It took my five long years to establish myself and to truly understand what I created my business for, to really get the bigger picture.

I guess what I’m trying to say today is:

Don’t let yourself feel like you’re running out of time.

You aren’t, and you need those anchors to keep you where you are for a while. Let your family nag you to come home for dinner. Say hello to your mother and father. Spend the night with your friends having fun, make time to watch TV shows with your girlfriend. It isn’t going to go up in flames tomorrow if you do.

If it does… it won’t matter anyway.

Things rarely go how we think they will. This time last year I thought I’d be living out of state and spending nights on the town with good friends, all the while pummeling through my sixteenth or seventeenth novel. Here I am instead, still in town, still working in restaurants, still feeding the monsters inside my head. My plan was built for someone who never sleeps, a Captain whose ship is never meant to anchor anywhere. There is a saying I’ve always been partial to.

A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

– John A. Shedd

I took it so literally, I spent days, weeks, months away from the port. Knowing that I’d return whenever I wanted to. Of course, I thought that. But it’s easy to get lost at sea. It’s easy to sail for your whole life and collect everything you find, never to be shared.

It’s easy to sail away and never return, forever lost in your own world of writing and creating or in your case, perhaps it’s working and sleeping and exercising. Perhaps it’s teaching or IT, perhaps it’s mechanics, perhaps it’s any number of things that keep you out at sea forever, but over time those wooden boards are going to get weak and waterlogged. Every morning you get up after that will be weighed down somehow, in a way you hadn’t imagined. You can’t stay on the sea forever without finding some kind of island or outlet for you to rest.

That’s not what ships are built for, either.

 


 

Thank you for reading all through September with me. I’ve had so much fun, I really truly feel back in the right place. I don’t like to be open about my content creation process because I feel like it takes away from the message, getting that look behind the glass. Sometimes though, it’s like I pound my head against the keys, looking for something new to talk about. I hate repeating myself and I find that I’ve done it so frequently it’s difficult to prevent it from happening again. Still, without going further into detail until next month, Salt + Iron is going to be changing a bit. As is Gravity, My Enemy. I have new content to share. New stories to tell and I can’t wait for this new year.

This blog has been one of the best things I think I’ve ever done. I’m so glad that I get to share it with you.

If you want to see more or reach out, I’m on all social media:

@alvatobiasbooks

Thank you so much, and I’ll see you next month…

just before the dawn.

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