I've been thinking a lot lately about the concept of "ghost ships" — choices that we could have made, lives that we could have lived, paths we could have taken — but for whatever reason, didn't.
My ghost ship story is two-fold. A part of me always envisioned myself living in a walk-up brownstone in Boston or San Francisco or Seattle or London, even. Working for an international non-profit like Partners In Health or The Gates Foundation. Selling my car and shopping at open-air markets and going to 10pm yoga every day. The truth is, I almost did end up on this path. Exactly two years ago, I was looking at a graduate program in Liverpool, England, for International Public Health and Humanitarian Assistance. I was two steps away from applying, but something in my heart said, "wait," and so I did.
And another side of me always thought I'd take the dirtbag route... that I'd end up working for $20/hour the rest of my life, as long as it meant I could ski and hike and bike. And I almost ended up on that path, too. When my heart said, "wait," on the Master's Degree, I took a drastically different leap. I moved to Bend, Oregon, to ski as much as possible, and to find myself and my path. I moved there assuming that I'd settle into ski bum life and eventually make my way to Montana to continue it. But then fate intervened and I wound up somewhere in the middle.
I've planted some serious roots in a small town sandwiched between the mountains and the sea — a perfect blend, really, of the coastal cities and teeny mountain towns of my ghost ships. I chose to study nursing; to pursue a profession that will allow me to fulfill both the intellectual and the savior sides of my personality, as well enable the lifestyle I desire. Part dirt bag, part professional.
Ghost ships, though. Cheryl Strayed said it best: "I’ll never know and neither will you of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore."