The first book that I read this year was Adrift - 76 Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan. This adventure book is a firsthand account by the only many known to have survived for more than a month alone at sea.
Callahan said that the story isn't so much about his daily happenings and the mystery of the sea. Rather, he said his "...odyssey showed me that I was a lot stronger and more resilient than I ever thought possible."
In his life, he was "...hopeless in relationships. In many ways, I had been equally hopeless in life. When my ideals had not matched reality, I had fled reality. I could not accept my own limitations as a human being nor those of the people around me."
Being on a raft forced him to face his challenges and creatively think about how he could address them and overcome them. His ingenuity in getting his basic needs - like water and food - met were impressive.
His connection with the fish and aquatic life was inspiring and humbling. It was almost as if the mahi-mahi accompanied and encouraged him to continue on his journey and not give up.
He found as more people read Adrift that survivors of various disasters or diseases; victims of spousal or parental abuse; and other survivors approached him. He found his book "...tapped into the most universal human vein: the struggle to survive. To a greater or lesser extent, we all do it every day, and virtually all of us must face at least one severe test in our lives."
Callahan also said, "How much spirit we are able to share with the world, to aid it in its struggle to survive, far outweighs some record of a long life."
He also said, "We cannot control our destinies, but we can help to shape them....When I feel most alone and desperate, I take comfort from all those who have suffered greater ordeals and survived, especially those who, despite it all, have even learned to thrive."