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Old 28-12-2006, 05:33   #1
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Ideas on Mortality

We live unconventional and dangerous lives. The very nature of what we do is unpredictable. The wreck with the Cat in OR has gotten a lot of attention. We had two friends drown on Christmas while their two young daughters could do nothing but watch.

I've enjoyed some of the thoughts on celebrating life/dealing with mortality on the Cat-crash thread but I'd like to see what your philosophy is, your favorite quote, etc.

For me, life is so short and only get one shot at this life...might as well make the best of it, revel in the beauty and the thrill.

Basically, what do you tell yourself in the middle of the night or in the middle of the storm? What's your way of deflecting moratlity issues from friends, family, and yourself?

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Old 28-12-2006, 06:18   #2
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2 thoughts -

1. life is short, enjoy it the most that you can

2. life last forever. enjoy it the most that you can

you know the right answer

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Old 28-12-2006, 09:48   #3
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It Is Written

Funny you should bring this up as I have been thinking about this a lot lately. A few weeks ago my son passed away at age 34. It of course has been very hard on both his mother and myself. But I guess my philosphy has always been that when you are born it is already written when you will die. There is nothing anyone can do about it, its nobody's fault, no one is blame it was just his time.

I've always used that philosphy when I'm sailing. I remember thinking that in the middle of the night in the gulfstream and being pounded by 12 waves. If I die, it will have just been my time.
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Old 28-12-2006, 11:24   #4

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I look at it in a way that varies a lot depending on the situation. If I'm in danger, I go into overdrive and never once think I could ever die. If I'm just pondering life (or is it death here?) I just assume I'll die eventually and how ever it happens it will happen. I'm not at all afraid of death for some reason.

I also figure it could happen tomorrow (or later today) so why not live it to the fullest?
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Old 28-12-2006, 11:39   #5
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Today is one of those days that I know I have a certain number of things to accomplish before I leave this world and at the rate I am getting things done I will never be allowed to die!

That being said, I have had more than a few times where, should the Good Lord have wished me into his presence, he could have accomplished it very easily and further more he seemed to have made a concerted effort to keep me here healthy and functioning.

After having to use my reserve chute sky diving, it changed my whole outlook on life and I do try and live each as if it was my last now. I make a concerted effort to enjoy my surroundings and friends and to make people happier where ever I go and to leave things better than I found them. Do I always succeed, No. But If I was to keel over right now (at age 34 ironically) I have lived a full rich life since that Saturday over a decade ago. I would have regrets, but they would be only for the future, not the past.

Getting closer to leaving every day!
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Old 28-12-2006, 12:09   #6
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It all comes down to F.E.A.R.!

Future Events Appear Real.

Life is not worth living if one lives in fear. One has to look beyond that. Make plans and do the best to succeed. And then make plans again.

Here are a few quotes that I keep that help with life (Food for thought).

“Never let urgency take over the things of importance”
“You are free to choose the circumstances, but not free to choose the consequences.”
“Security is not in the answered questions, but in the questioned answers.”
“Prove all things and hold fast to that which is good”
“To dream of the person you would like to be, is to waste the person you are!”
“ Don’t trust your emotions!”
“ No amount of income is enough if you haven’t learned to live on it.”
“If a sheep and a pig fall in a mud hole, the sheep will struggle to get out. A pig will wallow in it”
“ No amount of success will make up for the failure in the home.”
“Your system is designed to give you what you are getting.”
“Fools have their heart in their mouth”
“As nations go, there has always been a direct relationship between morality & prosperity.”
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Old 28-12-2006, 14:41   #7
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I don't know how to explain this other than to say that sailing is pretty safe in comparison to some activities called sport. Sailing is retirement for some. But they say that "the mountains and the sea are both unforgiving of very small mistakes".

delmarrey's quote "Your system is designed to give you what you are getting" is about as close to accepting personal responsibility as has been said in a long time. The American Alpine Journal once did a study on climbing accidents and concluded that the fundamental cause was people kept climbing. Personally I'm at a point in my faith (if you can call it faith) where I don't consider death any longer. It is not that I'm looking forward to it... only that I have considered it, longed for it, feared it, expected and respected it enough in the past to accept it whenever or however it comes.
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Old 28-12-2006, 17:24   #8

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I agree wholeheartedly with PV's statement above about sailing. It's a lot more safe than commuting to work every day, plus you stay in better shape - possibly extending life further.
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Old 28-12-2006, 18:37   #9
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The thought about mortality is a very individual experience. Once you experience something that brings you close to not being here you put things in perspective.

as linx said

2 thoughts -

1. life is short, enjoy it the most that you can

2. life last forever. enjoy it the most that you can

you know the right answer
While I don't think either is 100% the balance between the two is a key. There are people that live life waiting for a better after-life there are people that live live as if there is no tomorrow and there are people that live life fully and still do the 'right thing' most of the time.

All I can say is do those things that make you feel good at all levels. If that's going off and cruising full time -- cool, if that's giving up sailing cause the risks are more than you want -- that's OK too.

I personally can not live life afraid of the risks.. but I also am aware of them and do everything I can to manage those risks and still do the things I want to do -- it's a balance like everything else.

But I will leave you with this -- had a bad motorcycle accident about 3 years ago which reinforced my commitment to go cruising while I can. I learned that delaying for when everything will be just right may mean it never happens for reasons beyond your control.
S/Y Sirius
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Old 28-12-2006, 18:45   #10
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Life is great, but there is lots of misery to suffer.. even if it is just knowledge of suffering. When you are dead there is no suffering. Sounds creepy, but it's the bright side of not being here... no suffering.

You asked.

sv Shiva
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Old 28-12-2006, 20:32   #11
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I have had more than my share of "I shoulda died" scenarios. I guess it just never crossed my mind until after it happened. If I had died, I really doubt I would be able to fret over it, so why worry about something that didn't happen after it didn't happen. Had one of those today. I got hit by a semi. I was at work, taking photos, and I was standing behind a truck that had parked to unload. I guess he decided he wanted to be back a few feet (no clear reason), and he started backing up. I had my back to him, and he couldn't see me. Didn't quite knock me down, but had he kept backing, this would be a far different post. So, like they say, you could walk out the door tomorrow and get hit by a truck. Might as well choose your risks. I would rather take my chances with the sea.
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Old 29-12-2006, 21:40   #12
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Originally Posted by Holding Pattern
We live unconventional and dangerous lives.
Basically, what do you tell yourself in the middle of the night or in the middle of the storm? What's your way of deflecting moratlity issues from friends, family, and yourself?
I agree with unconventional, but not with "dangerous".

Here is some of the stuff I told my family: It isn't especially dangerous because we try to minimize danger.

The boat leans over when it is windy, but there are several tons of iron hanging from the bottom to counterbalance that. If you pulled the top of the mast down until it touched the water, the boat would pop back up to vertical when you let it go. In most conditions, I could not make it capsize no matter how hard I tried, and we won't be going out in any hurricanes. There is little risk of capsize.

Out at sea, ships are not particularly dangerous. They probably aren't watching where they are going, but I am. They're so big that they can't sneak up on you -- you see them from many miles away and have plenty of time to decide how you will avoid getting close to them. And they give fantastic radar returns. There is little risk of running in to a ship.

The rules on my boat include: Nobody goes on deck at night or in rough weather without wearing a harness and clipping on. Nobody leaves the cockpit under those circumstances without another person on watch. Nobody leaves the cockpit under those circumstances unless it is really important. For example, I once listened to the lid from the barbecue grill banging around for multiple watches; it came loose in the middle of the night, and the noise wasn't worth the risk of going out there to get it in the dark. My wife had to listen to it too, when it was her watch. There is little risk of anybody going overboard.

One thing I don't tell my family, but that I recognize:

If you fall off the boat in the middle of the ocean, you will die. The crew remaining on the boat will not be able to prevent this, even if they see you go over. You will suffer from hypothermia and drowning, and they will suffer from searching and failing to recover you. Do not fall off the boat.

I do not find this observation at all disturbing. It's like saying "don't smoke around the gasoline". Just observe the safety rules to avoid the risk.

Of course, there is still some risk no matter what you do. My wife and I talked about the possibility that something would go wrong and one of us would die. We consider it unlikely, but if it happens, the survivor should realize that we were doing something that we wanted to do. Sometimes unlikely things happen, but you can't avoid all possible risk. If the unlikely thing doesn't happen, you had a chance to do something pretty cool.
Mark S.
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Old 30-12-2006, 02:48   #13
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Danger vs Risk:

Paraphrasing COOT, while ocean passages may be inherently dangerous, they need not be inordinately risky.

A common illustration of the difference between danger and risk is illustrated by the following:
Where there are high voltage electrical conductors,
- there is a permanent danger of electrocution;
- the risk of electrocution to persons in close proximity to the conductors would vary, for example between a competent electrician and a young child.

Likewise, an ocean passage presents a certain degree of danger to any & all who sail the seas.
Notwithstanding, the actual risk to any particular ship & crew is diminished by the degree to which the ship & crew are fit (strong & healthy crew, well-found vessel), well prepared, knowledgeable, skilled, and otherwise suited to the endeavour.
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Old 30-12-2006, 08:08   #14
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One day in the spring of 1990 a few of us were shooting the breeze at our yacht club. Two recently retired members said they were taking off in the fall to go cruising. I was still working but the idea appealed to me. My wife got a sabbatical and I wound down my business. In September we left. The two retired guys didn't. One is dead now and the other doesn't even talk about cruising anymore. We've been doing it nearly every winter since then. Never went back to work again. We still love it. We figure it keeps us young, something to do with that shot of adrenaline you get every so often when things go bad and it gets a bit scary. Don't know who said it but this sort of sums it up - "Do not measure your life by the number of breaths you take, rather by the number of times life just takes your breath away".

By the way Brian and Heather, I was going through my boat cards and found out we'd met in St. Augustine last year, I think. Hope all's going well with you.

Rick I
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