A year doing something you love versus a year doing something you hate can be very different in terms of how long they are.
I have spent many a day wishing my life away. Wishing it was 5 o clock, wishing it was the weekend, wishing I lived somewhere else, wishing I could go back in time and change things…
I spent the year we were building our boat staring out of an office window wishing so hard that I could be with the boat while my other half worked away on it. It was a difficult year as I worked 2 full-time jobs plus voluntary work to finance things. I watched the clock and wished so hard that time would go faster.
Since moving onto the water it seems that the opposite has happened. I now wish time would slow down, there are not enough hours in the day to enjoy all the wonderful experiences I have around me. I want to take more walks, design more crochet patterns, master spinning, bake bread, concentrate on learning how to use my new camera, travel and see more of the waterways. I literally can not fit it all in! My days, months and years are flying by, which I am told is a symptom of getting older but it vexes me on a daily basis! I have found a life that I enjoy so much and that in itself is priceless.
Our boat was a wreck when we found her, hanging half off a quayside where the floods had lifted her up and dumped her. The whole wood cabin was rotten, there was a hole in the side. The propellor was missing and the engine would not start. My partner and I had only been together for a year but we had decided to do it together and that was that! We knew how much work lay ahead but were both prepared to do it for each other. It’s amazing what you think is a good idea when you first fall in love! It was a crazy idea for sure!
The whole cabin had to be replaced so it was like living in a shed with no floor, running water ( except down the walls) and no toilet. I would go and stay on a Friday night, slip into some sexy thick thermal clothes and we would huddle under a duvet with a bottle or 2 of wine…. OK 3! and watch Black Mirror and The Twilight Zone on the laptop. The roof was collapsing in and there was mold on the walls but we were so happy and excited. I couldn’t wait for those evenings to come! We would snuggle down and imagine what we would be looking at in a year’s time. I never doubted for a second that it would happen.
My first year boating was hard as we had constant power issues. We had no experience of 12v wiring or how many batteries we needed etc or how to keep them topped up. I spent most of the 1st year in darkness as we didn’t have solar panels or a running engine. It was 6 months before I had a working kitchen! I was so excited about our new life however that I hardly noticed. None of this was a hardship just a challenge!
Narrowboat life is a joy to me. I love the adventure, the people, the nature around me, the cosiness and the knowledge that I have created a life I love. The hard times are short-lived and make you appreciate the good times even more. I may get soaked to the bone but I come into a cosy home with roaring fire and affectionate cats. I may have to climb in and out of locks but this keeps me fit and flexible despite my aching bones. I struggle to keep my clothes clean ….still not quite got over that one ( although we do have a washing machine). You have to take the rough with the smooth.
Time is relative, I know I have found the right life for me because instead of wishing my life away I am wishing for more and that is priceless! All this has taught me that it is so important to create a life you love, whatever that may be. Narrowboating is not for everyone but there are many other ways to lead a rich and fulfilling life. We are only here for a short time and I don’t believe in waiting for the perfect moment. Now is the perfect moment! Now is that rainy day!
I talk to people who say they are waiting for retirement, to save enough money, to get rich, to find another job, until the dog dies! There are so many reasons why people put things off but time waits for no man! I understand that this can be hard while you are struggling financially or caring for someone else but I know so many people who complain about their life and do absolutely nothing about it. Learn new skills, apply for that job, reduce your outgoings and divert the funds you have and put them to good use! Make plans! Be brave, be adventurous! You never know where it might take you!