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Crew Compass: Make time for yourself

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Crew Compass: by Lauren Loudon

One thing that I’ve found difficult on boats over the years is making time for myself and doing things for me. How  on earth do we squeeze our favorite pastimes into this nonstop lifestyle? Not just time to sit and breathe – I am talking about quality time to carry out personal projects, reach our own milestones and fulfill dreams.

It’s easy to fall into the rut of doing what everybody else wants to do, following the crowd and generally going with the flow. But at a certain point, you’re going to want your freedom and to stop sacrificing everything for everybody else. Sure, there’s compromise, but that also means taking time to do your own thing. Let alone wanting this, you’re going to need it, whether you realize it or not.

It is so important to focus on yourself when constantly surrounded by other people because, let’s face it, if you’re not happy with yourself, you’re not going to be the best company.

For me, it’s writing that allows me to escape into my own little universe and take a step away from the boat, the crew and the moments that so often consume us. This year, I found a new determination not to let my work be my excuse for putting off dreams, and there I had it: a brainwave. Why not use my adventurous, nonstop, exciting lifestyle to share my story and perhaps inspire somebody else to do the same – to make a journey of living the life we dream of.

“From There to Here” by Lauren Loudon, now available on Amazon

I had already written the content for what I hoped would one day be my first book. When I landed this column, the necessary monthly escape deep into my mind somehow pushed me to edit that book and complete it.

Finding time was not easy. It required many late and almost sleepless nights as I read, reread, edited and then formatted about two hundred pages of the words I had written. I designed the book cover, too. Then I took on my greatest challenge yet: self-publishing.

I exchanged “Sunday fundays” with friends for hidden hours in remote and quiet coffee shops with my laptop and an endless flow of almond-milk lattes. My morning yoga ritual succumbed to the thoughts I had had while lying sleeplessly in bed, pondering the pages that flashed before my eyes. My marriage suffered moments of strain as my mind raced in only one direction.

The realization hit me like a brick: I could make sacrifices for an eternity as I continued to perfect the pages before me. The important part was reaching my goal while not allowing the rest of my world to slip. So I set a deadline, and there it was. I did it.

I’ve chosen to write about this here to emphasize the importance of doing things for yourself and not letting the unknowns that come with this industry to completely override your entire life.

It’s easy to slip into the routine of work and play, but it’s perfectly acceptable to also disappear into your own world to do your own thing at your leisure. It doesn’t matter whether it’s to write, to make your own jewels, to knit, to run, to bake a cake or to practice learning a new language. Whatever you want to do, make time for it.

People keep asking me, “But how did you have time to do that amongst all of your other ventures?”

I made time.

My book, From There to Here, is now available at Amazon.com.

Lauren Loudon has worked as a yacht chef and stew for more than four years. She hails from Lancashire, England. Comments are welcome below.

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