I’ve been familiar with the first sentence of this quote for years, but only this week did I stumble across the whole thing. I had no idea there was a nautical theme to the rest of it, nor that Mark Twain was responsible for it.
My first thought was ‘I love this, but I can’t put it on my blog or that will make three Twain quotes and I’ll have to rename the blog: One Life. One Chance. Multiple Odes to the Genius of Mark Twain.’
Or will I need to rename it?
Here is the quote posted, as you can see, but without an attribution to Twain. It seems there is some dispute about whether he did indeed say it or write it. You can read some arguments against him being the author here.
I particularly like the disparaging dismissal of Twain ever indulging in those three one-word sentences so reminiscent of 20th century psychobabble!
And yet … what does it matter who wrote it first?
As with the “A reader lives a thousand lives … ” quote, this exhortation to take a chance obviously resonates with people, regardless of who wrote it. It urges us to step outside our ordinary lives, to weigh in our minds which is more important: to stay safe, or to dare?
I’ve recently had to weigh that very question. Since my return to Australia three years ago, my job security has been somewhat rocky, but for the past year I’ve had a well-paying, largely enjoyable job that seems to offer long-term stability. Yet I’m prepared to give it up, also to give up my apartment if the landlord objects to an absent tenant, in order to go sailing.
Ah, but not just any sailing!
Seven weeks in the Indian Ocean on a tall ship, over waters that are new to me, with stops at exotic tropical islands en route. I wish I could say something about the stars overhead also being new, because that would sound romantic and exotic too, but I do live in the Southern Hemisphere so they will be familiar old friends.
Do I need to go on this voyage? Of course not. My tall ship sailing experience includes two transatlantic crossings and numerous shorter voyages; there will be few surprises. And yet it calls to me, in the way that some people are drawn to climb mountains and others to paint, or to write.
So the question was, which will I regret more? Doing the voyage, and its possible consequences of unanswered job applications, apartment hunting, dwindling financial resources – or not doing the voyage and wondering, when I’m older and retired, or no longer physically able to do such voyages, what I missed?
No contest. I’m on that ship. (Just don’t tell my boss.)