The Triton

Career

The Yachting Life at Midlife

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I have written some columns in the past year directed more toward those just starting out or new to the industry. 

But if you’ve been in this game for a while (15, maybe 20 years) you’re probably sailing into midlife and with that stage can come some different thoughts and feelings about your life.
Navigating the midlife passage may take some new skills; after all, you’ve never been here before. New opportunities, interests and issues may present themselves here. You may find you need some new charts.
You also may want to check how much deviation is affecting your inner compass. Rather than taking on this chapter with some kind of unaccepting resistance, jump in with gratitude for where you are and a strong desire to clarify and create where you’re going.
You are entering what the great Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung called the “second half of life,” powerfully and brilliantly described as follows: “We take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false assumption that our truths and ideals will serve us as before. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning – for what was great in the morning will be little at evening, and what in the morning was true will at evening have become a lie.”
You may want to read that a couple more times to really let it swim around in your head. Now here’s a bit more from Dr.Jung:
“In this phase of life — between 35 and 50 — a significant change in human psyche is in preparation. At first it is not a conscious and striking change. Often it is something like a slow change in a person’s character; in another case, certain traits may come to light which had disappeared in childhood; or again, inclinations and interests begin to weaken and others arise to take their places.”
So don’t be disturbed or confused by certain interests fading and new ones arising. It just means you’re evolving, you’re alive and still becoming. You may have thoughts of leaving the yachting life and it may, for some, feel a bit scary or unsettling. But after reading Jung’s words, based on years of research and study, you can gain some comfort in knowing you’re probably on track with your thoughts. It’s all part of the process.
Others may be perfectly content with where they are and love their work and have no desire to change anything. This is a great thing as well. Your planning for an afterlife from yachting may be years away. We are all on our own voyages that are ours and ours alone.
Here is how author Mark Gerzon put it in his book, “Listening to Midlife”:
“As we age, we human beings yearn for wholeness. We yearn for the parts of ourselves that have been in the dark to find sunlight, and those that have been sunburned to find shade. We yearn for the parts that have been underdeveloped to grow, and those overdeveloped to be pruned. We yearn for the parts that have been silent to speak, and those that were noisy to be still. We yearn to live our unlived lives. But ultimately, your path toward wholeness is unique. It depends on where you have been and where you are going. Your quest is just that — yours.”
So enjoy this quest you are on. As far as we know, it might very well be the only one we get on this blue planet we’re spinning around on. In your first half of life there were some expectations of others to live up to. There was certainly some programming going on and we looked for approval and acceptance.
Well, here’s the cool part, midlife voyager: You get to design this next part of the program. In this movie of your life, you are the writer, director and lead actor. If you don’t like the way the script is going, tear it up and write a new one. It is, after all, uniquely yours.

Rob Gannon is a 25-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach (www.yachtcrewcoach.com). Comments on this column are welcome at editorial@the-triton.com.

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