Don’t Sail Out Farther Than You Can Row Back

That Danish proverb has pride of place as a magnet on my refrigerator door. My ancestors were very wise. The also liked to take risks, but their cultural longevity would lead one to believe that their risks were mostly calculated ones.

I’ve been thinking about this proverb quite a bit lately because I’ve definitely sailed into uncharted waters. I’ve moved 3000 miles across the country to a state where I know no one. Have I gone too far? The other day, after a bit of a kerfuffle at work, it suddenly occurred to me that I may have.

I’m on probation for a year. I have a little over 8 months to go. I spent 9k getting out here, and it will take me years to pay off that debt. If my employment boat starts taking on water now, I’m sunk. I can’t afford another 9k to get back to a more familiar job market, and I have no contacts out here. Who would hire me after I’d just been fired, other than someone who already knows me? As the ancient maps used to say, “Here there be dragons.” I suspect those dragons are going to keep me up at night for a while.

But on the other hand, without risk there’s no reward. I guess I could have stayed in Florida, rotting in my own miserable swamp, but I preferred to sail out where the air is fresh and clean. I think, I hope, it was worth the risk. I love where I am so far, and I will continue to do so unless someone fires a cannonball through my hull. God knows it’s happened before. But I really think I’m drifting very close to my happy place, and I just had to try to get there.

And hey, bailing and rowing does wonders for one’s upper body strength, right? So it’s all good.


[Image credit:]

Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

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