Build the Boats

A boat being burned at the Up Helly Aa festival in the Shetland Islands,

If you want to take the island, burn the boats!

– Julius Caesar

The idea of burning the boats to force yourself or others to accept only success as an option has been attributed to many people. Julius Caesar, Hernán Cortés, The Predator…

All worthy role models, amiright?

Many people attribute this notion to the Vikings however, which doesn’t make mush sense to anyone familiar with how the Vikings operated. They treated their boats as the valuable tools that they were. The only time that a boat was “sacrificed” was when a very high-ranking member of the leadership died, and even then, that was only a known act during the height of Viking cultural success.

I can understand the romanticism of such an act though. The Vikings were well known throughout much of the northern hemisphere for their bravery and fearsome dedication to fighting and invading to grow the size of their reach for their kin. The idea of them saying, “Hey. Let’s burn our boats and show these people how much we TRULY like to fight.”, is rather intoxicating.

We all face trials and tribulations in this world and the ability to remove all forms of backing out of a commitment to improve ourselves SEEMS like a can’t fail idea.  We can throw away all our junk food, so that we are only able to eat what we have in the home that is healthy. Or we can get a gym membership because once we start paying for it, we have no way to back out without feeling like a financial imbecile.

But in today’s world of convenience and lacking discipline, how often do we stop at a drive thru because we don’t have the “right kind of healthy food”, so we will start tomorrow? How many times have we paid for a membership that seldom gets utilized more than 3 weeks in?

Sometimes, even burning the boats is just a way for us to find excuses to not achieve things. We don’t improve out of a lack of options; we simply find more creative excuses to not improve.

And then, sometimes our boats get burned for us.

I started this blog a couple years ago as an outlet for my journey as a man, father, and husband, as I worked my way toward being the best I could possibly be in all categories; and maybe even impart some wisdom and humors to other Dads looking to do the same.

But now I move forward in only two of those categories:  Man, and Dad.

My marriage failed. My boat that I depended on was burned for me, while I sat inside of it asking, “Where did all this smoke come from?”

Not going to lie… it hurt like a bitch.

I could say that I kept a strong chin, I kept my dignity, I moved forward immediately with new vigor.

But I didn’t. Not at first.

No, at first, I begged. I bargained. I bartered. I bitched about it.

None of those things worked. My boat didn’t reappear.

Then, I realized that my boat was gone. I was no longer beholden to that model. I could move forward and build a better boat.

I didn’t have to be “happy” that I needed to build a new boat, but my options were to sit there, and hope ashes regained their original form of a strong keel and sturdy bow and end up boatless in the end anyway. Or I could get to work building a boat that was my own, that could not be burned by others. A boat that was mine to command and do with as I see fit.  Not an escape vessel. Not an anecdotal motivational tool. But a truly seaworthy ship that could take myself and my son and whoever else I decided to let board my boat through heavy seas, turbulent currents, and the unsure directions of life. To be commanded, powered, and steered by me.

And that is where I am at in my life currently.  Figuring out how to build a boat.

I am still a man that wants to be great. I am still a father that wants to raise a great person. My goal with Dad Level Viking is to gamify the approach of building myself into a great man and father so that others can see it can be done one level at a time. I want to share my approach to being a man in today’s world that can take a disappointment and use it as a learning that makes me even stronger and more capable. I want to share with my readers about the trials and tribulations of being a dad in today’s society that so often pushes our young people toward adulthood faster than they should, and ill-equipped to deal. I want to relay my wins, my challenges, and my lessons learned, so that hopefully you may learn or be inspired.

If you feel like you have suffered a disappointment in life and you want to overcome it, follow this blog.

If you feel like you want to be the best possible Dad and want to learn or converse with others who are driven to be the same thing, follow this blog.

If you feel like life has gotten stagnant and you are looking for a way to break the perceived monotony, cycle, or curse of modern-day fatherhood/manhood, then follow this blog.

I may not have the answers, but I will fight all the way to learn them and help others learn them as well.

Come along on my adventures and learn how to build your own boat for this world. We may take on a little water, but we will not stop until Valhalla.

Let the others burn their boats.  We are here in this life to BUILD.

Let’s get to work.