The Captain Diaries: May 22, 2011

The water was rough. They sky was pouring ice-cold rain on the Auxiliary vessel, while the wind blew with the strength of a cyclops. The boat rocked from side to side, almost as if the diesel-electric engine had been filled with wine. In what little room I had to stand, while avoiding being thrown from side to side, I held a heaving line on my hands and looked into the horizon. I was about to throw the line over to the dummy in the middle of this man-overboard drill, when I realized something amazing: this was it. I had found my dream. I had found my future. As I stood in that vessel, balancing my body and supporting myself by pressing my legs against the engine room and the deck, I held in my hand not just a line, not just a maritime tool, but also the answer to all my questions.

I realized right then and there, in the middle of the storm over Lake Michigan, on board an old Coast Guard vessel, that this is the life I want to live. I understood for the first time that this feeling in my heart, this nagging voice in the back of my head telling me to be in the water, is only a reflection of what I have always known but had chosen to ignore. I want to be a captain. I want to live the rough life or a mariner, and come home proud of my work and of who I am. I want the excitement, the challenges, and the risks of a life at sea, for that is what I am destined to do.

I finally know what I want to do with my life. I finally know how to get there. The question now is, do I want to make the necessary  sacrifices to get there? Going away to school in Traverse City would mean leaving my loved ones behind for weeks at a time, and even months at a time during my sea projects. It would mean not being there for the most important person in my life at the time when she needs me the most. It would mean running the risk of rupturing our relationship, even loosing her, just so I can follow my dreams. That would be a high price to pay. And that is just school — I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it would be to sustain a relationship while working at sea or in the Great Lakes, being gone for a month or two at a time. It would be hard, really hard. So can I really do this? Do I risk everything to fulfill my destiny, or do I forever regret not living the life that I am meant to live?

About Gabriel Mongefranco

Gabriel Mongefranco is your software developer for all things data: extraction, integration, analytics and security. He is also a blogger, a poet, a proud father and a faithful Christian. He is always eager to contract with faith-based nonprofits! Learn more.