There’s a lot of fog on the wheel house windows this morning and it got me thinking, sometimes in life we don’t see things for how they are. We don’t see where we are in life clearly. Our wheel house windows get fogged up and we can’t see the clarity of how things really are. For instance, in my mind, at the very moment, I’m annoyed with my fuel readings. I have been for 54 days now. They just won’t add up. I’m overwhelmed with School, work, and personal problems. That’s my perspective through these foggy wheel house windows. But, boats have this fancy thing call “ SeaClear”, It’s this fancy window mount heater that clears the fog from the window like I’m about to clear your perspective (and mine) on life.
Everything in life you’re experiencing right now at this very moment-you said yes to it! You did. 90 Percent of the things that happen in this life you have control of and the other 10 Percent is your perspective. Whether it was 10 minutes or 10 years ago, this is exactly what you asked for. It’s hard though, to see through the fog and notice all the good 24/7 I get that… But, Perspective is key. If not for perspective, if not for guidance, how would the world renown navigator Bowditch ever find his destination? Without the Polaris how in the world would a sailor ever find his way home? It’s all perspective and how each individual finds their own way through life and how you personally see things and react to them.
So, today, I’m turning my mental “Seaclear” on and taking my own advice…
I spent a year in and out of jail. 3 years with no license, 3 years on a commercial fishing boat barely getting by. I made 100 dollars a day if I was lucky. I had no license, no hope, no insurance, no career I mean I had nothing but a couple good friends. I worked my ass off studying and calling companies. I reached out to everyone and I mean everyone begging for help. Sure enough, after many nights of anxiety, I realized I had my money saved for school and before I knew what hit me I was on a plane headed for Sea School in Bayou L Batre Alabama. Man I was happy. I took in every minute of it. Upon arrival back home I continued working on my grandad’s boats. He would let me go out after a while and my Girlfriend at the time would have to drive me to the dock because I couldn’t drive legally and I was done being in trouble. Ashamed, I pressed on. No way n hell I was giving up. Months later, it was time to renew my license to a conditional work permit. I cried, everyone else cried, and we sent off my application for my USG license. DENIED. Ha, no kidding. It was denied three times but, I didn’t quit. I had been applying to jobs and networking the entire time and the day after I got my driver’s license I was hired at what I know now to be the best company I ever worked at, Stevens Towing based out of South Carolina. Off I went, to work my first Tug Boat gig with nothing but old fishing clothes and a work permit. I had life made. But, that didn’t last long…
6 months later I was running the boat on my own. I mean I was pushing a 250-foot barge on the head through the ICW dodging sail boats, bridges, navigational buoys, I was killing it. I took to the helm like a damn fat kid takes cake. I killed that shit. I knew it’s what I wanted, to have all that responsibility, to be able to cause millions in damages and being held responsible not too. That’s what did it for me, knowing someone trusted me that much. The entire time I was complaining about my pay though. I complained that I wasn’t being sent to school to upgrade my license. It killed me. I felt like the world owed me something. I sat there and had the audacity to sit and complain about money, equipment, crew change etc. I sat there and compared Stevens towing, a little east coast tug boat outfit to Port Fourchon, and the crew boats where the lowest salary out there was 70 k a year starting pay. I told them how in the hell can you pay me 30 grand a year when I can go to the gulf and make 70 grand!? Ha, I remember it like it was yesterday. “You’ll never make it in the Gulf”, “You’ll never get hired”, “You dot know enough people”, “You don’t have the experience” …. Man on man, they just didn’t know me like I knew myself at the time. But, it goes without saying, I pushed on. I worked hard, complained more than I worked, but still provided results. I had it made, I was exactly where I wanted to be 1 year prior but it wasn’t good enough… The Gulf was out there. Those big ships where floating around in need of my assistance.
9 months later, after several appeals, emails, and phone calls I’m driving back to GA and I get an email from the USCG… Application approved. I pulled over on I95 Southbound and cried.
That’s right, my hard working salty ass cried on the side of 95. There’s something truly majestic about overcoming failure. There’s something beautiful about being knocked down 8 times and getting up 9.
So, here I am, in a temporarily, self-induced misery for failure to see clearly. This morning, In Port Fourchon, Louisiana, I am exactly where I wanted to be 2 years ago. In fact, I’m further than I thought I’d be. I’m making more money than most people in my condition, I’m progressing faster than most. In an economic downfall for the gulf, I was heard about and offered a job as the Chief Engineer for my Vessel. That’s right. I don’t know how in the actual hell this happened. I mean I can’t believe it sometimes, and sometimes, I hate it. I still want more. Not because I’ll never be satisfied, but simply because I’m docked right next to a bigger boat. Bigger boats require bigger licenses, bigger resumes, bigger experience. Guess what? I’m growing, eagerly learning, studying and pushing myself every single day. I’m running as engineer, I’m running the boat when I’m not in the Engine Room and I’m networking my ass off. I study for my next upgrade diligently and come a hurricane or a flood Tommie Lee Hurst is going to be the Captain on the Ship of my choosing.
Regardless of all that, can you believe I had the audacity to sit here and be induced by my lack of clear perspective. Because the truth is, if I never progress any further with my life up until this point, I made it.
So, my friend, turn on that sea clear and look at what’s really going on in your life. There are no actual problems here, just situations that can be over came with a little tuning of the perspective, now, go make shit happen, Captain.