I regularly write about the beauty of the sunsets, the good company, and the nice whales, but of course, there is more to a long journey than the beautiful things. There are bad days too. Days we run into ourselves, days we struggle with something. The source of it will vary from person to person; it could be how we relate to other people or fit into the group. Or something from our life outside the ship, because we suddenly have time to think about it or due to an email with bad news. It could be anything, but everyone has their bad days.
I had a few off days. Nothing particularly upsetting. No specific reason to be off, but I could just feel I was not the optimistic happy person I can be. Not as mesmerized by the sunsets as usual. Not overly excited about the cookies as is customary on the Europa. And as I was trying to find out why, and find a way back to ecstatic joy, I would just burden myself further with the weight of social anxiety. We are all so deeply connected by being here together; an awareness of how we influence each other automatically follows.
It is an interesting field; the study of social instincts. Humans are so intrinsically social - our bodies respond to each other in ways we are not consciously aware of. When someone tells a sad story, we unconsciously drop our shoulders, tilt our heads, or copy frowns. Mood transfer via facial expressions or body language is so powerful people can over time literally start to look alike. Studies have shown that happily married couples start to resemble each other. The sharing of daily emotion leads to partners internalizing each other, to the point anyone can see how much they belong together. Our sadness can be felt by those around us, giving opportunity to offer support. Simultaneously, positive energy is infectious. When someone on board whistles a song, half of the ship will be humming the tune within minutes. When a good joke is shared, we all giggle along. Like waterdrops wrinkle the water's surface, positivity can be spread around.
And so, things turned around again. It was a perfect day again, followed by many more. Days with good conversations and a vibrating energy in the air. I am getting to know people in a way that feels comfortable, and familiar. Sharing emotions, sharing laughs, and sharing tears is where making honest connections starts, and I almost feel grateful for being able to feel and discuss the full range of emotions passing me by – it allows me to bond with the people around me authentically. Every day is different; even when we are doing the same thing as we did yesterday, how we feel about it varies continuously.
So as we discover the ocean, we discover new sides of ourselves as well.