It feels familiar like I have been here before but it is a hazy. Finding our way around the ship has my sense of direction mixed up. I know I have been here before but everything is in a different place. It is not just that I have not been on this ship before it is like I am off balance and trying to get right. In this swarm of passengers our paths cross with Millie and Billy several times.
Dinner is a highlight of cruising for us. We love dressing and going to the dining room for dinner. Dinner on Carnival hasn’t changed that much since all those years ago. Dinner is wonderful. Choices are similar to those I remember. Dress is less casual even on formal nights, the formal wear for most people isn’t a long beautiful gown. A cocktail dress or nice evening dress seem to be the choice now. I remember those nights of dressing up for dinner and how fun it was. I actually like dressing up sometimes.
My sister and I have chosen to sit at a large table. Meeting new people is part of the fun. At our table is another set of sisters, one lives in Maine and one lives in Florida. They always spend their time together on a cruise. We have just started doing this ourselves and intend to continue to do this. I see this as a confirmation that this is the way Susan and I are to renew our bond and embark on a new journey of sisterhood.
After dinner we head to the main showroom for the introductory show and then wander the clubs until we find a band that we like and dance the night away. I dance the night way with a women we have met. Susan isn’t much of a dancer, maybe one of these trips she will dance with me. Finally fatigue settles upon us. It has been a long stressful day of travel and anticipation and we return to the cabin before the night is over.
Lying in bed I feel the gentle rocking of the ship upon the sea. The fog has lifted. I know now where I am. I see clearly that I am home. My body, my heart and my soul belong at sea. I live at the beach, the ocean just a couple of blocks away. It is where I finally began my life with me in it. It has felt more comfortable and familiar than any other place I have lived. But it is on the ocean where I am at one with myself and the universe. I feel whole with the shifting sea beneath me. Sleep comes easily. Much needed rest. I can’t remember when I have slept this well.
A full day at sea. I love sea days. I watch the hustle and bustle of all the passengers. At 9 am people have already grabbed their chairs on the lido deck. Drinks are flowing. Laughter. There are families on vacation, family reunions, couples traveling alone or with other couples, and women have a girl’s trip and even a wedding party on board. I watched a couple get engaged. People watching is so fun. I am so busy watching and being present that I am not writing what I see and so I am writing this partly from cryptic notes and memory.
I am out here on the lido deck by myself. Susan is napping. I am enjoying being with my sister. It has been a long time since we have spent time together. It is sad that it has taken mom’s illness to bring that bond back. Susan is sleeping a lot. She is tired, body, mind and spirit. And I remember why we are here. She needed a break. Mom’s Alzheimer’s. Susan is the one doing the caregiving while I continue on with my life. She deserves this. I am grateful that she has taken mom’s care one herself. She has not only allowed me to not come and help but has insisted I stay away and continue on with my life. She knows it would set my forward progress back. It has taken my years to get to a place where I am comfortable and happy.
Besides mom wouldn’t want me being the one in charge of her. She would rather it be Susan. Mostly I have been forgotten. Her only memories of me are as a baby and small child. She wouldn’t know who I was if she saw me. Ironic because she never knew who I was really growing up. I wasn’t who she wanted me to be. Still I never really became or got to know who I really was because I kept trying to be who she wanted me to be but failed. Worse I hated that person. I hated who I had become. It never felt comfortable.
And then the flood gates open to the memories of past cruises and trips, So many memoires of years ago. It seems like another lifetime. My mind wanders back to those memories – childhood memories, then to our cruise vacations when we were teenagers and then to those cruises I took with my friends in my early 20’s. I feel so at home here.
Despite the fact that I have been creating a wonderful new life for myself I have been feeling restless lately. It has felt like something was still missing but I couldn’t put my finger on it. As I feel the rocking of the ship, watch the people enjoying themselves on the lido deck words spill onto the page and I discover what is still hiding beneath the surface.
I miss this being on a ship at sea. I miss traveling. I need more adventure in my life. This is what is missing – spending time with my sister and traveling, seeing and exploring new places, having new experiences, meeting new people. I crave this. This is my passion. I knew it once upon a time and gave it up to create a ‘real life’. The life that was expected of me. A passion is being reawakened. I thought I had found it when I moved to the beach. It has been wonderful but not completely right. Almost….but not there yet. I am beginning to realize that the passion goes deeper and bigger than what I have been envisioning. There is still more beneath the surface. I sense a part of me has still been missing. The wanderer in me has been missing.
Much to my mother’s dismay I never felt the need for a home with the white picket fence. I never felt contend there. It wasn’t me. I have always felt comfortable and content in different places. Any place but that place that was supposed to be home. I never needed that. I tried. In trying I lost touch and sight of what made me-me. I felt out of place and uncomfortable, out of my own skin. I am back in my skin, in my body and my heart. My spirit is bringing to feel free and happy.
I love the ocean. The ocean is my life blood. This is where I belong. It is coursing through my veins. Without it I can’t breathe. It is me at my deepest level of being. I am one with the sea. It is my foundation. From there I am able to venture out and experience life at its fullest. I must find a way to reshape my life to be in alignment with my truest self and my passions. It is what I have been working towards.
Each place I go, each trip to the sea brings me closer and closer to my core. My sense of myself is directly related to the sea and the places I travel to. Many places not one place. It is not stationary but fluid and ever changing, growing and expanding. For many years it was stagnant. Now I have begun moving it forward again in small steps. This feeling, this understanding, this knowing that has come to me is confirmation I am on the right track and back on the journey of me.
And then back to present moment, relaxed,and people watching. I wonder if Susan is awake yet. Having enough sun I head down to the cabin to find out. I will stay in the present moment and enjoy this time and trip with my sister. Right now is perfect. Sail on… Sail on…. Sail on I say.