Forty years ago, my parents met on a cruise ship– and I made a very conscious effort to avoid ships all these years knowing that their tale did not have a happy ending. Of course, as fate would have it, I finally I had to face this demon that has been haunting me all my life and get over my hang up of cruises. The Oasis of the Seas was nothing like what I had imagined– it was like a floating city with almost 5,000 passengers, and full of shops and restaurants, as well as a full spa and gym.
As I wandered around the ship, quite often by myself, I wound up learning an immense amount about my dad, who worked on these ships for over 15 years. I thought about him a lot and what his life on board must have been like 40 years ago. It’s amazing to think that at age 18, he opted to leave his country and entire family to join the cruise lines, where he worked non-stop for years, until he decided it was time to settle down and start a family. Unfortunately, family life never really worked out for him, and it is easy to see why now– those formative years on the ship made him an extremely outgoing, gregarious, adventure-seeker. He is always on the go, and doesn’t know how to take it easy.
I realize the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree here, except I have learned to tone it down a bit especially when my son is home. Calm is more of an acquired taste for me, I have come to cherish peace when I’m off the clock. The best part of this whole trip was being able to meet my dad for coffee after the cruise was over, and in just those few brief moments, to be able to tell him how much more I have come to understand him by retracing his steps. In the quest to finding our true selves, our parents hold the key to many mysteries– grab that key before it is too late.