Flotsam, Jetsam & Lagan: sounds like a prestigious law firm, doesn’t it? Or maybe a 1960s folk rock group? But no, these terms have a more nautical theme.
I’ll let dictionary.com explain:
Flotsam — 1. the part of the wreckage of a ship and its cargo found floating on the water. 2. material or refuse floating on water. 3. useless or unimportant items; odds and ends.
Lagan — anything sunk in the sea, but attached to a buoy or the like so that it may be recovered.
Jetsam — goods cast overboard deliberately, as to lighten a vessel or improve its stability in an emergency, which sink where jettisoned or are washed ashore.
I won’t be channeling my inner pirate here; I get seasick in the bath tub if I take my eyes off the horizon. The thought of people chucking things into the ocean intentionally is also rather sickening, but I’ll save that for another post.
The point of this post is:
Life is like a shipwreck.
Wait, that doesn’t sound quite right… Anyway, I’ll wade in with my analogy:
Sometimes we go about life having taken on a lot of unnecessary “odds and ends,” and when we get hit with – “stormy weather” shall we say — we founder and end up floating about, all wet. The “useless and unimportant” baggage we were needlessly hanging onto bobs about pointlessly in the waves nearby as we frantically dog paddle and wait for rescue. That’s flotsam.
Sometimes we get the “ship” kicked out of us and lose our footing on dry land, but we manage to take stock of what happened and what’s important to us, and we can devise a plan for how to recover from our losses. That’s lagan.
And then there’s jetsam, when we rid ourselves of the unnecessary baggage that’s weighing us down, impeding our progress, or endangering our stability. And having done that – and continuing to do it – we sail through situations that might otherwise have sunk us.
I’m striving for jetsam; lightening my load of unnecessary stress, worries and material “stuff.” It’s definitely an ongoing process. Stuff seems to seek us out at every port, clinging to us like barnacles on a boat.
Okay, swabbies, I think this ship has sailed. I’m off to the galley for some chow. I suddenly have a hankering for fish and chips.
J is for Jetsam.
Wonderful post! Great insights. In trying to unload my excess baggage, I never thought of it as jetsam. I like that comparison.
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Thank you! I’m glad you liked it.