Down memory lane with funny feelings
The new year just has started and nothing really has changed, our house is still for sale and I am still married to the the same women that I have met nineteen years ago. My god I am getting old as I talk about my yesteryears. Yes I have f***ked up life pretty much but who cares I was happy. I was doing all kinds of things as I was smoking, drinking and all kinds of other things when I was a youngster, I tried my luck Down Under but came back broke and disappointed as a recession broke out. And my job came to an end.
I am going to have some funny feelings now. Somehow I am embarrassed at how often in the past I have publicly posted about my deepest desires, thoughts, emotions, confessions, bowel movements and my good old days at sea. So if you’re somebody who doesn’t want to hear about Old Sailors past trauma, you may now run away. Strange how all of a sudden these memories can jump up and swing you back to your “good old days.”
Let us begin with my teenage years. As we needed to pick up someone from the ferry we past a farm and that is not that strange in the North as we are the dairy part of the country. Close to the island up the coast of Holland there was an old farm; there were outbuildings, a woodshed, a barn, fields, and a beautiful salt cove that leads out onto the bay. Every single room and outbuilding and crawl space on that approx 80 acres of grass fields, and every dark saltwater inlet haven, is filled with memories, just how it should be with an old house. These are some of the only really good memories I have of my childhood. I only know what it feels like to be truly, deeply carefree and happy, because I remember a time when I lived together with my brother and sisters on my parents ponyfarm and was surrounded by love.
I had a great youth but also some rough times as a kid. But there were more happy than sad moments in my life eventhough there was nothing really challenging in the little village where I was born and raised, I left home at twentytwo and moved halfway across the globe to figure out who I was outside of that place. For me home is both a precious gem and a bed of quicksand. After I came back and brushed my old life again, I met a girl but my dreams were still wild and i started sailing. I left her behind to start a different adventure again to work as a bartender on a cruiseship. Although the job was good the money was ok, I got for the second time in my life homesick. Then life is really getting painful. When I had been gone long enough, I figured out that I could someday go back and reconcile with Home, really face my past and maybe let some things go, but I never did.
Until one day my mum and dad sold the house and later also the ponyfarm. It was time for them to retire and enjoy their own lives as they were giving many kids a second home at the farm. I actually lived in a live childrensbook story and that was kind of strange but on the other hand so familiar, it felt like having some extra brothers and sisters. All of a sudden the so well known place was belonging to someone else.
A couple of years later my mum past away although my dad is still around, he is getting really old and more and more fragile. Together with my sisters and brother he is the last one that know that little boy from those past years. Even when I grew up now and saw a lot of things in my turbulent life, I probably might have hurt a couple of persons feelings but that is because I can be pretty straight forward knowing that life can be crap and reckless.
I’ve moved around my whole life and had more then ten different jobs. I am like a sailboat pulling anchor during every storm, constantly aching to be brought back to home port, to her mooring. But I never left my anchor down for long. Then I got brought onshore and hauled about a hundred kilometres inland up North, where for years I was that little sailboat, born at sea, meant to be afloat, living on hot, dry land and surrounded by trees. Instead of sea lavender and gulls. But I digress. Also women went topless at the local pool – that was a plus. Eventually, after a decade, life is not that bad here and we have to hope for a buyer of our property, even with my soul moored close to an island off the coast of Holland, someplace like that could actually become home at least to part of me. If I only could afford it, I did not become rich. I even fail to make money on this blog, but who cares it is a nice hobby.
Letting go has happened without my knowing it, over the past 25 years – school, college, friends and loves, sleeping on park benches and being pissed like monkeys, sleeping in the funniest places as every corner of the country had to be seen and rolled by when we looked out the windows of our car. Flexible careers, partner, childbirth, children, big mistakes, redemption, healing that happened when I wasn’t looking.
Here in Lippenhuizen, I’ve delighted in the springtime crocuses and daffodils, the miracle of ice coating and sparkling every branch and twig, fall colors, certain songbirds, things I left behind and yearned for that South east Friesland has in common with South west Friesland. And I’ve discovered that there are things to love that are, for me, particular to this place.
In this neighborhood people or more orientated on their own families. And I have been married for years to a community-oriented culture where family comes before individualism. I was used to people that simply walked in for a cup of coffee or tea or a neighbor that wanted to borrow a few tools. That is not what you will find here. Yes we are living in a wonderful new house with enough room, in a beautiful neighborhood – and being able to stay here, not because we’re making a crapload of money, but because good housing here is working-class affordable.
My parents did hardly fight at least not when I was around. When I was twentytwo and I left the country my mum was sad but hoped I would find a better life, eventhough most of my funny plans ended into faillure and since then, any happiness I’ve felt has tugged on a deeply entrenched sense of loss as old as my soul. On a deep level, for me, Home, happiness, can only be visited. Every other weekend, and my dear father will be there, and will now belong to our kids. Eventhough he is getting more fragile he is still enjoying the kids to be around. He is getting quickly tired so we do not make it too long when we are there. But our kids love to go to grandad in Langweer and that is the best feeling you can get as a parent.
Here’s what’s going to happen. When this place gets sold, along with the grief, I’ll feel like something inside me has been set free. In fact, I’m already feeling that old barnacle-covered mooring tugging up, inch by inch, with each day that I further process the transformations that are happening in my family. Remember, about the marker buoys: Right Red Returning, and stay out of Hellgate in your small boat. Look for the phosporescent creatures that sparkle like underwater galaxies on black nights at full tide. Maybe you’ll find a squid after a good storm. Or a message in a bottle – maybe mine, finally come home after many years at sea.
If you gaze at the stars and your boat rocks on the waves, you will hopefully think of me being out there on the pitch black sea.
The Old Sailor,