Inspired to Live a Life of My Choice

London Callers,

I spent so much of my youth just trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. It’s so ubiquitous in our culture today that it’s almost second nature to ask anyone in their teens what they want they are going to be. As if such a profound question could really be surmised by someone with de minimus experience.

My own answer when I was 13 bordered on trite; astronaut. Yet if you asked me, I could no more devise how to get there from where my life was than I could tell you the whole puzzle from the first two pieces I pulled from the box. The answer I gave was far less about what I wanted to do than it being more of a reflection of what I thought would garner the most pride from my father. I felt an astronaut is smart, brave, almost heroic, all things I dreamed he would think of me.

I wonder how many of our careers were guided by the empty space left in us rather than by the talents we may possess. I also didn’t understand at the time that no matter how hard I tried, he could barely see me through sepia tint of Jim Beam let alone bestow upon me some amount of affection. For most of my childhood my own existence was more burdensome than bounty and it took me a lifetime to understand that I owned no fault in this.

It’s nearly impossible to see the flaws in the person you long to be. My vision of my future self was no more real than the affirmation that I longed for, it was just a childish projection. Except for the rare few, I think most of us wind up in a life path by accident. The win for most of us is simply surviving our childhood and that’s no small accomplishment.

However, sometimes as we age, the life question changes from ‘what do you want to do with your life to what do you want to do with the life you have left, and this turns out to be something far more profound. In the end, as much as we pretend it isn’t, life is finite and my youthful fantasies got me no closer to becoming the best me I could. But, my dreams, they aren’t as empty as my conscience seems to be. As a grown man, my life is focused far less upon putting the genie back in the bottle having accepted that the drunken demons weren’t in my control. Instead, true affirmation has come from my own sense of self as I look into the mirror each morning and see something that hopefully I can be proud of.

One of my oldest friends called me up this morning to ape just those sentiments as just an FYI and for all the emptiness of my youth is filled by a casual call. He could never know that impact, but it is felt nonetheless.

Bryan Fuller rowing

The life that I live is all of my own, warts and all. I have made some good choices and some poor ones.

Four days from now I push off from an ever-shrinking shore, out into the emptiness of a vast ocean and yet, I count this among my better decisions. My hope is I pull with me a wake of ideas and possibilities for those around me who never suspected they had. In a complete turn of events, I have in no small sense become the astronaut of my youthful fantasy and no one is more surprised than me.

Our launch is on June 1, at 10 AM at Mayor Menino Park.

“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.” – Melville

Thank you for inspiring me to a life of my choosing,


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2 thoughts on “Inspired to Live a Life of My Choice”

  1. So beautifully written with a real sense of poignance now overcome by hope…an inspiration to all. I will be following the site and watching for updates about the progress of your trip. And I will be praying for you safety and wellness as I wish for you smooth waters, good weather, and the strength to handle whatever happens to come your way!

  2. I wish you safe journey. I am so glad there are people like you. I am a Geography teacher and plan to use your journey in my class of middle schoolers in the fall.


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