Friday, September 4, 2009

Roz Savage

Have you heard of Roz Savage? I hadn't until the other day I saw in a list of CNN articles: "The woman who's rowing across the Pacific." That caught my attention and I checked it out. Which prompted me to visit her site, She's already crossed the Atlantic alone in a rowboat. Now, she's tackling the Pacific in three separate stages; stage two is almost complete.

She had been a management consultant in London and decided in her mid-thirties there had to be more to life than "four grey walls," as it says on her site. Apparently, per CNN, she wrote two obituaries at the time, one describing her life if she stayed on doing what she'd been doing and another as if she'd taken a jump and followed her dreams, doing what she'd always wanted to do. From there, she made a break with her old life and pursued adventure.

She ended up rowing because it achieved a number of objectives: it was environmentally friendly, solo (to test her capabilities without relying on someone else), challenging (so she could grow as a person), unusual (so she could make a living writing and talking about it) and physical.

Right now, on this leg, she's on day 104 at sea, has traveled more than 3,000 miles and rowed more than 1.2 million oar strokes.

I find her story inspiring. She had thoughts of "is this all there is to life?" She used those thoughts and her two obituaries as a way to trigger a new path. Obviously, the path she chose to find more meaning in her life was quite extreme, but I can learn from it to enhance my own life.

On the "Inspiration" page of her website, it recounts sample themes from her speaking engagements. To (almost) quote (for some reason, I couldn't highlight the text on her page to copy and paste here), she says:
  • Make the connection between present action and future outcome. If you repeat the same actions 365 times, will you be where you want to be in a year's time?
  • No matter how big your goal, you can get there if you make a plan and execute it with discipline, determination and dedication. One stroke at a time
  • Don't waste mental energy asking yourself if you can do something. You won't know until you try. Just do it - you may surprise yourself.

I have plans for our future, but I can honestly say today's actions are not always consistent with achieving them. What I take from this is you can set big goals, even ones that might seem crazy from where you're sitting today. But, once you set those goals, you need to execute on them and make your actions every day help you achieve them.

Time to get a little crazy and start thinking "out of the box" I've got myself in. I need to start imagining all sorts of different futures to see which one is the one worth driving for. A purpose-driven life is a far more appealing life than the static, routinized one I find myself in today.


Anonymous said...

Hi Cranky!
Thank you! I needed to read this post today. How inspiring is she? Wow....And what a great idea to write your obituary...I love her third inspiring quote about not wasting the mental energy...I'm SO guilty of that. Wonderful post!

Anonymous said...

It is so good to hear you say that you are going to start thinking outside of the box. Way to go!
Kingston M

zoomdoggies said...

Good post, Cranky. As my abilities change I may need to modify my Bucket List, because some of the things that used to be on it obviously ain't going to happen, but I still need to have a Bucket List.

Patrick@Caregivingly Yours said...

Cranky! In my humble opinion, YOU have been thinking outside the box a lot longer than Roz Sazage and as far as a life with purpose there is no contest. To bad she cannot read "Musings of a Cranky Caregiver" while rowing her boat.

Caregivingly Yours, Patrick

Diane J Standiford said...

I agree w/Patrick, but I understand what you are saying. Especially for caregivers it is easy to get in a "rut," to stop seeing past duty. You MUST follow your dreams though, wherever they lead. You must.

Cranky said...

Thanks to all for your comments.

I think Patrick made great points, and they pretty much aligned with Skip's reactions when I read her this post.

And, then I think Diane hit the nail on the head. I am in a bit of a rut and it is hard to see past the responsibilities I have to even detect what my dreams are, let alone follow them.

That's what "thinking out of the box" is here for me -- to stop thinking within just the current paradigm and push on for greater personal satisfaction.

awb said...

I was going to try it out, write my own obituaries, but I couldn't get past just plant me in the damn garden next to the stupid lion! Very inspiring story, thanks for sharing it.


Herrad said...

Hi Cranky,

Go GIRL!!!

You can do it.

ps good post thanks

Herrad said...

Hi Cranky,
Here is a link to Hilary Lister

She is a parplegic, a real inspiration, she sailed round Britain using three straws.

Herrad said...


Please go to my blog and pick up your award.

steve said...

Really thought provoking. I tend to alternate through long periods of letting life happen to me, followed by short, intense periods to taking the wheel and charting a course.

Setting concrete long term goals is really tricky. If I make them too specific, or chase them with blinders on, I could end up achieving the goal, but missing all the good stuff that happens along the way.

Today, my goal is to clear the backlog of paperwork piling up on my desk. My mid-term goal is to make sure BR gets everything he needs to live the best life he can. My long term goal is to prepare myself for his departure.

Each goal can be broken down into steps and alternatives, and the exercise is worthwhile when I feel stuck. But once I get the ball rolling, I like to coast for a while to see where the fates will take me.

Cranky said...

Andy - I know what you mean about writing an obituary. Don't know if I could look at my lift in that way.

Herrad - very inspiring story. How brave! And, thanks for the award. You are inspiring to me.

Steve - interesting how you describe "letting life take its course" and then periodically taking the pulse of your life. I think my key issue is that when I stop to take a pulse, I haven't been able to put my finger on what course I should take so I know how to right it.