Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. — Mark Twain
He ran as fast as he could to the hotel and up the flight of stairs to get to the top level. John was on the beach at a coastal resort in Thailand when the tsunami waves began to gush and roar onto shore. Luckily, he made it safely to the top. But many others — hundreds of thousands of others — weren’t so lucky when a massive earthquake triggered a series of tsunamis along the coasts of the Indian Ocean in December 2004.
It was a chilly afternoon, typical for Northern California’s bay area this time of the year. It had been raining on and off for the last couple of days, but on this Monday a few weeks ago, the sun shone brightly all day and not a gray cloud was in sight. It was the perfect day to take the boat out.
So on this cold Monday afternoon, my friend John invited me to go sailing with him. We were out on the water at noon, with the bright sun shining down straight from above. If the wind didn’t blow too much, the sun rays actually provided a bit of comforting warmth. As the evening approached, the sky turned dark blue behind the golden setting sun. And finally at dusk, the sky was a canvas of light orange and pink. It was amazing to see nature paint this way.
It was during that time out on the water that John shared his tsunami story with me. It’s a sad story with a lucky ending for those who made it out alive. It’s a story that reminds us that life is indeed unpredictable, fragile, fleeting, humbling. It’s a story that inspires me to set sail where my passions lie because life does have an ending. For some sooner than others, and it’s okay that we don’t know when it ends. What’s really important is living the moment with purpose and gratitude.
To John, I extend my deepest gratitude for sharing your stories and adventures with me. I hope you continue to sail to your passions in life.