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There’s a lovely young couple I know who are pursuing a great passion of theirs — sailing.  They’re taking hands-on classes and working hard towards certification and licenses, and saving to buy and sail their own sailboat.  I’m proud of them and glad for them.

(image courtesy of the genius of N.C.Wyeth)

But they’ve also expressed how some of their friends are less than enthusiastic for them, that some are actively, maybe even aggressively, trying to discourage the pursuit of this dream.  This bothers me so badly that I can’t keep quiet about it, and it sounds like this couple needs to expand their social circle to include other sailors.

It hurts a bit when your friends and family aren’t supportive when you go after your dreams.  But it’s horrible when they argue that you can’t or shouldn’t do something that *calls to you — something that’s completely legal, mind you — even though it has no real effect on their own lives.

As I began to wonder why these folks’re trying so hard to talk this couple out of their dream, I recognized this unpleasant oddity of human behavior from my own life experiences — it’s the crab mentality.

My own nay-sayers always wore a false face of altruistic worry while claiming:

a desire to protect from disappointment

— which is insulting, by suggesting a lack of character, resilience or strength.

or a concern for safety

— which is insulting, by insinuating incompetence, stupidity or carelessness.

Maybe it was their own laziness they were protecting — someone else’s success would only underscore their refusal to stretch and grow.  Maybe it threw a spotlight onto their perpetual excuses for never pursuing their own dreams, causing a nasty spiritual sting.  Maybe they feared it removed the dreamers and doers as a ready resource, ripe for exploitation.  Maybe it was the sort of cowardice that spawned a particularly ugly variety of spiteful envy.

Whatever.  Without knowing it, they’re playing the role of Threshold Guardian, that tests the resolve of the Adventurer.

Time to say, “Thanks for the concern.  But this is my life, and I want to really live it.”


Make it your motto day and night.
And it will lead you to the light.
The apple on top of the tree
is never to high to achieve,
So take an example from Eve,…
Be curious,
Though interfering friends may frown.
Get furious,
At each attempt to hold you down.
If this advice you only employ,
The future can offer you infinite joy
and merriment,…
and you’ll see!

Cole Porter


*If you’re familiar with Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces, then you know what happens when you Refuse the Call — stormtroopers arrive and shoot up your sand igloo.

— Ryl