Working on my dissertation I became overwhelmed by the degree to which operational definitions were demanded. Words like sailing, competing, terrain, preparations, experience and even the word ‘it’ had to have its context defined relative to the theme of the research. Due to my growing anxiety with meeting this criterion I made an appointment with my advisor. “Look at me,” she said. My eyes focused on hers. With a twinge of sarcasm, she gave me hope. “Soon as you get your degree you can answer every question with two words: ‘it depends.’ More than twelve years have passed since that consultation. As recent as a few hours ago, I got a kick out of responding to an interviewer’s questions with those two words, ‘it depends.’

I present this backstory as it relates to a recent meeting with a lady I will refer to as my mermaid. Although she is a real live person, until her and I establish whether she wants to be identified I will give her the fictitious name of Mermaid. We met, via a phone conference. I answered her ad that was posted on the marina bulletin board. Her note said she was looking to boat sit. The idea of having a responsible person live on my boat during my absence was curious. I called her. Instantly, the seeds for a symbiotic relationship were planted.

Writing is Mermaid’s ambition. The theme of her current book is about a gal who takes to the sea. In addition to providing supportive data for her tales, I agreed she could use my nickname, Sassea, as the name of her protangonist. I was flattered, inspired and motivated by our discussion.

The inspiration came from Mermaid’s dedication to writing. She reminded me of the importance to write daily.  Being flattered by using my name reminds me of the unique person I am.  It is these two dimensions, inspiration and flattery, that are motivating me to once again sail beyond where I have sailed before. A passion I recently let slip away. To help me clarify why I am inclined to follow this once forgotten dream, I was compelled to answer Mermaid’s questions.

Mermaid:   What makes you do it (sailing)?

Sassea:     It depends on my emotional, physical and psychological being.

Mermaid:   How far away will you sail?

Sassea:    It depends on my stamina, finances, and gumption.

Mermaid:   What about the crazy terrain?

Sassea:     It depends on what you mean by crazy terrain.

Mermaid:   How do you make extraneous preparations?

Sassea:     It depends on my mood, available resources, and course.

Mermaid:   How do you do the whole sailing experience.

Sassea:     It depends on weather, finances, and my stamina.

Interestingly, after getting an earful of ‘it depends,’ Mermaid suggested we meet again. Through the phone I could hear her sigh, “I didn’t realize there were so many things to depend upon.”

We chatted for a few more minutes. Then, I ended the call by saying I expect we will talk again. She whispered, “It all depends.”