Winter blues tends to hit most people and in the Midwest it really hits paddlers. In a couple past post’s I have talked about how I need to get motivated to get back into enough shape to paddle the MR340 solo this year. Well, the mental motivation is there but the physical motivation is not. At least until this week it was not. Falling off a health wagon can be a huge drag on your spirits, especially when you have a lot to prove. This week has brought a few positive changes to my life. Since the end of September I had been struggling to find a full time job to get me through the winter until I open Show Me SUP for the season. It was a simple Facebook post from a friend and co-worker from the past that changed that. I want to say eleven years ago I quit working for Alltel to go to work for my mothers company leaving a couple of people I had grown to be friends with through work and the occasional nights out for drinks. Fast forward to this week and I find myself reconnected with one of those friends working for his wireless repair company. It’s a far cry from slinging and selling kayaks all day but I still enjoy the little things, the REALLY LITTLE THINGS like tiny screws and circuit boards and little plugs that you almost need a magnifying glass to see. Jonathan took a chance on me and is giving me his newest store in Ozark Missouri. He has tasked me with rebuilding the customer base and bringing in new customers and connecting the business with the community.

Not only has he taken a chance on me I can still run Show Me SUP and provide people with the passion I have to get people standing on water. I am restructuring Show Me SUP and how I book rentals and Sunset paddles to not only allow me to focus on a full time “ADULTING” job, but also focus on providing people with an awesome stand up paddleboarding experience. I guess you could say this is a blessing.

The other change is a not so good thing but will result in a new life “2.0”. I came home this week noticing that I am not as comfortable when I am hanging out with my wife, I have now energy and its getting hard for me to bend over. I am putting all that hard work I did to lose weight back on and to me this is unacceptable. I am breathing heavier and it just really sucks. I only have myself to blame for not having the mental discipline to keep up with what I was doing. I have 4 and a half months to turn this back around. I WILL NOT let the people who supported me so much in 2017 down, I owe them too much to do that. If I have created more doubters than I had in 2017 I will just have to prove them wrong as well. I know I have the ability to do something as stupid and as fun as the MR340 so I will just have to use doubt as fuel. The other thing I have to look forward to is returning to my river family. Once winter kicks in we really only stay in touch through texting and sending goofy pictures to each other. Spring will be here before I know and the crazy adventure weekends and float trips will start to fire up and the family will reunite once again. With the exception of a few of my river friends and family here in Springfield, most of them live in Kansas City and St Louis. This keeps us apart through the winter unless we come up with a dumb idea of paddling in freezing weather.

Everyone has that close group of friends you would more likely call family over friends. The river family that has been forged by us is unlike anything I have been a part of in my life. Yes, I have my childhood friends that will always be important in my life but our lifestyles are complete 180’s from each other. River families tend to be a high spirited, goofy and “a little off” from reality. When we are together it is like one giant brain has been brought back together and all it can think about is what stupid adventure is next. We support each other, we comfort each other and we love each other. There is nothing like it in the world. Most of us spend our time together on the water and some of us spend it frozen in a trailer with satellite tv and holes in the floor pulling pike and perch up while sitting around in their pajamas. But it’s one single thing that brings us together, the water, no matter what form it is in. Sadly our frozen friend Ron has not been able to treat us to a wonderful weekend frozen on a northern Minnesota lake but we have promised it will happen when the lake is not frozen.

I chose to write this blog post as more of a journal entry than on something river or product. Everyone goes through rough times in their lives and most of us hold in those rough times. Some are harder times than others but eventually they tend to eat at you from the inside out and I am a prime example of that. I spent a year losing 125lbs only to feel great, finish an enormous adventure in my life to just piss it away the last year and a half. I chose not to hold all these feelings in anymore and just let open myself up to everyone, judgemental or supportive. It is my life and I can run it like I want to and if I want the world to see my up’s and down’s I really think it will help me hold myself into account and make the changes I need to make in order to give myself a healthy and long life. Boring or not I think it will be a huge weight off my shoulders to write about the rollercoaster I call my life. If someone can take something away from it and open up their lives then “Bonus”. If I get negative comments about how I am just rambling on with pointless things in blog posts I will just pour them in to my fuel tank of motivation.

In today’s society, everyone has their mind connected to a device, absorbed in the day’s political views and life’s troubles. I have never been this “ZEN” about letting everything out in the open even though I am a very open and extraverted person. Changing how I look at things is something that has been going on since I lost my mother and recently watched my father go into the hospital only to come out with his second leg amputated. The way I looked at life 3 years ago was one of a party, work, party and be lazy, but be lazy outdoors. Once I saw how hard my mom worked and the little time she took to spend on herself and enjoy life the more I seen it wear on her until one day it was too late, she was gone. I started this journey of paddleboarding with a good friend giving his time to help me achieve a healthier life, a group of friends I call family and a determination to wake up every day and be thankful I just woke up and I am a little healthier. When I thought I was on rock bottom I was scooped up and lifted out of the deep hole of funk and learned to paddleboard, eat healthier and achieve shit I never thought I could. Now I have to multiply that and come out of the rock bottom that sits just below the other rock bottom. I realized there is no more rock bottoms, only a wood box and a shit load of dirt. It’s time to live again. It’s time to make my mom proud, my family proud and myself proud.

I do have to admit that reading what I just wrote is a pretty good opening of my soul and it feels good to admit my failures but also look at the future successes I will have. I hope some of you can find the courage to do the same. Never let negative things eat at you. Even if it is just sitting with a friend and telling them what is on your mind can do worlds of good for your soul. For me, I don’t give a shit, I want the whole world to know if I am keeping my word or not. Spilling out bad luck and set backs helps me get the negative out and let the positive in.

My door is always open for anyone that wants to meet up for a paddle and a coffee.

SYOTR and Aloha Y’all.

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