Published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel under the pen name Elizabeth Rose. Chris is known as “Jason” in the I Heart stories.
Living on a sailboat brings all kinds of internal challenges to the surface.
For one, this is the first time in my life I am living with a man.
My independent nature, mixed with traditional values from my conservative American family, have contributed to my complete novice-ness in the realm of “living in sin.”
But the journey of making our boat a home has been a curious pleasure, and the transition is met with inherent comfort.
Maneuvering around the cabin (the enclosed compartment or room), squeezing past each other in the galley (kitchen), snuggling in the V-birth (a bed which is shaped like “V” due to it’s placement at the bow – or front – of the boat), and working in tandem on various projects has a natural flow, as if we’ve been doing it for years.
One giant detail, which has me twitching like a coked-out rabbit, is finances.
The lyrics of Pink Floyd’s “Money” have inadvertently become my morning mantra.
Since embarking on a sailor-ly life, many (if not all) conveniences and daily routines have been modified.
The usual sunrise yoga into meditation practice into coffee and breakfast with a dash of The New York Times style section has been replaced with modest stretches in bed into coffee and breakfast with my lover into organizing, fixing, and cleaning, and meditating when I remember that I forgot.
These days, mornings are quick.
There is so much work to be done before we launch to sea, there is no time for “past life” routines.
And that’s more than okay.
I didn’t expect or want, life to be the same.
This is the point of an adventurous life.
But my relationship to cash flow taunts me.
Not having my own steady income.
On a man.
My partner works his ass off commercial fishing salmon in Alaska each summer (think sleep deprivation and back-breaking grinds 24/7).
Fishermen can make a full salary in three month’s time.
Some years, thanks to economic BS, they don’t make a lick.
But this summer, my sweetheart filled the kitty and invited me along for the ride.
“So… you would be supporting us both. I can bring in money for food or whatever through writing, but not on a consistent basis. Are you sure you’re okay this?”
“Yes! I’ve planned for this my entire life. Bring in what you can and we’ll put it toward savings. There’s no time like the present. Let’s do it!”
After marinating on the prospective future of a new life – and a completely opposite way of looking at the world since my thirty-four-and-a-half years of existence – I took the plunge.
One of the major desires for this alternative lifestyle is to release the ego.
That bastard has been haunting me since birth and, as you may know, the ego’s good at misinterpreting what is of substantial importance.
If I’m being honest, my previous life in California boosted that mo-fo to another level.
I loved my former job and the incredible opportunities I had because of it.
Tons of perks, new learning experiences on the reg, meeting new people, and a bad-ass job title to go with it.
But the social media rat race gave value to other people’s perceptions.
And it sucked a big fatty.
“Likes” and comments, correct hashtags, and emoji combos… what would life be like if the weight of a perfect Instagram post ceased to exist?
I imagine space for further soul-searching, free of this technological popularity contest.
But for me, it comes at a cost.
The cost of a bi-weekly paycheck.
I’ve always been funny about money, and it seems this is the time in my life where I am to face that green demon.
Many women jump at the chance to be financially supported.
I wrestle with the feelings of a helpless child asking for an allowance.
I have a bit of money saved, but overall the bank account we are reliant on is not my own.
As my friend put it, I need to value my contributions as I would for hourly pay.
Jason and I are a team now, and we rely on each other for more than a fulfillment of the heart and sexual pleasure.
My concept of money and work is shifting.
And self-worth is following suit.