Wednesday, February 29, 2012

You don't have to like it, you just have to do it

The way the sea affects different people is interesting.  I suppose some of it can be chalked up to the simple notion, 'this isn't for everybody'.  It's basic.  There is an attrition going on here with some of the crew.  And there are some people who aren't going anywhere, but approach their job with little enthusiasm.  The reality is that no one has it easy on the boat.  The captain probably has it pretty good and the foremen and a few other muckity mucks have it ok.  Everyone, however, is working 16 hours on and 8 hours off.  They call it 16 and 8s.  It's actually 16.5 and 7.5s.  Whatever.  The point is, this isn't a dream boat for most of us and is by no rational measure a life of luxury.


See how I emphasized the 'but' there?  It's all a matter of perspective and mental discipline.  If you come onto the boat and tally your hours at the end of everyday and compare it to the best job you've had in the real world and blah blah blah then you are one thousand percent going to fold.  Coming out here and living like this with any part of yourself back in civilization is gonna be rough.  To deal with this, you've gotta take an inverted approach.  Things have to be seen differently.

For one thing, even though the hourly rate doesn't always add up, I guarantee that at the end of the trip there will be more money saved than if one were out in the world eating at McDonald's.  On our best day I think we made five hundred dollars.  On our worst, we made zero.  So there you go.  After a few weeks at sea there's a few thousand there and more to get.  No biggie.

I think the more important shift in attitude that needs to take place for those of us who haven't been on a boat before is one of self discipline.  If you aren't taking the time spent here mastering yourself and honing your toughness, then you're missing the boat, so to speak.  A friend of mine who's been working with me down in the freezer came with a different attitude the other day.  She was all down and mopey about the situation.  Before that, she'd been one of the toughest people here and eagerly tackled every challenge.  I asked, "Who do you want to be when you get home?  Do you want to be the person who endured months of torment for a few bucks?  Or the independent person you've been becoming who can do anything that's put in front of you?"  Snapped her back to reality a little bit. 

The real reality is that you can't let your mind eat away at itself.  Once that slippery slope is trod upon, forever will it rule your destiny.  That's Yoda talking.  Can't argue with it.  We all live inside of our minds.  We have to run a tight ship in there, so to speak.  Gotta win the day.  Gotta win the hour.  Gotta win every moment.  Even when it's hard.  We like it because it's hard.  Everyone who's stepped in the freezer with the exception of Ice wench and Valentine has folded.  Pumps me up.  When the daffodils are going through the motions sorting fish, we're low crawling on the deck in the freezer hold looking for frozen fish eyes to eat.  We cough up pneu;monia and grab another bag.  And we get stronger.  There's no easy way out, there's no short cut home.  You don't have to like it, you just have to do it.  Friggin country club.

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