The negotiation was constant this time. It was no longer just a simple set of rules that we ran with. I suppose we were once given a simplified version so that we could move on with our lives.

Back then, we were idealistic.

We thought, we believed, a simple set of rules could cover everything we would encounter. We thought they would never need adjusting.

They did help us get off the ground, and move on to more important aspects of our lives, but they were too simple - like a partially finished sculpture. From the distance, everything looked wonderful, but as you approached, you could see all the unfinished features and unpolished surfaces.

What we were taught worked for the basic situations, and maybe they even worked for most situations, but it wasn't complete. It never could be complete. Unfortunately we didn't know it at the time, and attempted to apply what we learned to everything life threw at us.

And we would be met with failure. Regrettably, we assumed our failures were caused by our own inability to apply the rules correctly, rather than by imperfections in the rules themselves, so we continually slammed our heads into problems in ways that would never give us solutions.

It led to many crises, some of them personal, as we were unable to understand why what we were doing was not working. What followed was the loss of our once wide-eyed idealism. And from time to time, we were pushed into the realms of despair and cynicism. How could we have been so blind, we asked ourselves, the rules never worked and never would.

Some of us abandoned the rules altogether and attempted to forge new paths. They were met with limited success - in many ways, they repeated our own mistakes, believing a different set of simple rules was going to work on everything they did. It was just a different sculpture that looked fine from a distance, but just as incomplete up close.

We struggled to find direction. If the old rules didn't work, and new ones didn't either, it was hard to come up with alternatives. I suppose it wasn't really about which type of boat we left with.

Nobody expects the direction we initially set to be left unchanged the entire journey. That seemed to be our original mistake. The general direction and destination were mostly fine, but after we left shore, all we did was play cards below deck, with nobody tending the boat as it wandered the oceans.

We were going to make constant adjustments this time, even rebuilding the boat if we had to. We couldn't expect the agreements we made at the start of the journey would always be honored. That was too naive. There had to be amendments as the world around us changed, and we changed with it.

Some of our most basic expectations and assumptions had to be regularly questioned. If we didn't, we might as well have went back below deck to play cards, inviting disaster while we neglected where we were going.

I wished we had started this much earlier. So many years had been lost. But at the time, we actually thought playing cards was more important. Granted it wasn't all just fun and games - we had other things to tend to as well.

Food, laundry, ship repair.

But we had no autopilot, though we assumed the initial direction we chose pretty much acted like one. Sadly that just sent us into obstacle after unforeseen obstacle, and we would have to deal with the fallout without having the foresight to steer ourselves out of the way in the first place.

Unfortunately many of those obstacles resulted in permanent damage, damage that could not be repaired without extensive work. Some among us couldn't take it anymore and built new boats so that they wouldn't have to deal with the damage dealt to the original.

That was always an option open to us as well. It was difficult deciding which would be the greater cost, starting with something new, or trying to repair something that had already suffered extensive damage.

Sometimes we compared notes with other veterans in these waters, but it wasn't an easy conversation to have. We didn't really want to admit we were too busy playing cards to steer away from some of the most obvious obstacles.

Judging by the damage to some of the other ships around us, we weren't sure which veterans had truly figured things out, and which were still struggling to make it through the day. All we could do was make sure we were regularly adjusting the rules we sailed through.

At times, something that applied a month ago would suddenly become inapplicable now. That wasn't something we ever considered before, but the waters around us changed at much faster speeds now. The world wasn't the one of our parents, nor even the one we spent our childhoods in.

Some claimed the speed of change was increasing, and for that reason we had to be on constant guard. Old assumptions that worked for hundreds of years could no longer be counted on. From a distance, they still made a lot of sense, but as the environment changed, their deficiencies had come into much sharper focus.

We didn't have a lot of good solutions, but it was time to put down our cards, and take a good look again at our problems before we smashed our bow into them once again. A few incidents, and our hull could still survive, but repeated battering without new mitigation would have forced us into the water, and forced us to attempt to rebuild from what was left of a broken ship.

That was something that we had to prevent before it happened. We would probably be blindsided a few more times before we knew what to look for, but we needed to be in a new frame of mind. We couldn't trust that old ways and old configurations would always work indefinitely into the future.

The future was coming at us quickly. We could already see too many people having already fallen into the water. We didn't want to think about them. We were too busy trying to save ourselves. We needed a better way.

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