"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
A young boy climbs aboard, eagerness in his eyes. Eager to learn, eager to see, eager to feel. Eager to live. He wants to do everything at once. The seas are his playground. He scampers about the ship, excited to no end when he hears of his first assignment. Let's go! Let's go! Let's go! He looks around him.
The boy is greeted by the grim, knowing gazes of the rest of the crew. They regard him in an almost pitying manner. They scoff at his eagerness, his willingness to learn everything. The will to live. The boy turns away. He will be something special. He will sail around the world. He will go on adventures beyond his wildest imagination! He will be somebody.
The day they were to sail off came. Oh, it was a beautiful day in the harbor! Not a cloud in the sky. Crowds of people come to watch the placid shore and see the boats off. The boy has been waiting for this day his whole life. He dresses in his finest clothes, bidding farewell to what he knew. He skipped about like a schoolgirl at the thought of finally setting off to sea. Where were his mother and father? The thought never entered his mind.
The time was coming. The wind was perfect, a crisp breeze fit to fill the sails and set the boat on its way. Other similar boats crowded the harbor. Where there others aboard them, eager as the boy to begin a new life offshore? The time came. Ships started pouring out of the port, almost crowding and pushing to get out. The boy was anxious. Why was the ship not moving? The other ships disappeared over the horizon. He could swear they were waving goodbye. What had happened? He had inspected everything so thoroughly in anticipation of this moment, what went wrong? He looked over the side of the boat. The anchor was so heavy, no one had been able to raise it.. The time had come and was gone.
...an old man stepped off the ship. The ravages of time so sketched every detail upon his grim features. Lines of worry were finely drawn across his wrinkled face. Ah, where had the time gone? He peered around at the vaguely familiar setting. He remembered the time so long ago, that horrible day he had tried so hard to forget. What could I have learned if we set off to sea that day? What could I have seen? What could I have been?
These questions plagued the old man to his death.