The night before I started a week-long sailing course I learned my not-so-recent-former boyfriend had gotten married. I was stunned. He was the one who introduced me to sailing; he was the one who convinced me to move to Annapolis, the capital of the US sailing world. 


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As I sailor, it’s easy to recognize when I’ve “lost anchor” in my day-to-day life although it creeps up on me quietly without warning.  Most days I check off my “to do’s” without hesitation but sometimes it seems like all I’m doing is moving today’s list of “to do’s” to tomorrow’s list of “to do’s”.   


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Aw, yes, it’s Valentine’s Day.  Like everyone else, I think of long-stemmed roses, heart-shaped candy, and red ribbon and bows.  I’ve had plenty of these over the years, but what I associate the most with this day is the memory of my parents.  Both had surgery on Valentine’s Day and both were told they were about to die.


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It had been nearly a year since I had seen my friend Gerry at church so the news that I had recently lost my job and been left at the altar (figuratively) came as a surprise. “But let me guess,” he said without waiting to hear the details. “You didn’t give up.” Not knowing what else to say, I agreed.


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Sailing around Swampscott, Massachusetts, a charming little town nestled fifteen miles up the coast from Boston, I looked out on the water and wondered, “who am I?”  That the thought first occurred to me the summer I lost my job in 1999 was itself a mystery.  Up until then, it was either defined by my place in my family, my relationships, my job, my community, etc.


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