Most of you, if not, every one of you reading this blog post has no problem with working or event working your ass off. Obviously, we all need to work to afford our homes, utilities, and toys, etc……. Some of you work paycheck to paycheck just to make ends meet even if you worked 70 hours in a week. Some people have amazing careers and they can breathe easy everytime they pay a bill and some of you are blessed with a little more. But, this is not about who has more money, this post is about “NOT WORKING”. I am not talking about being lazy every day of the week, I am talking about that one or two days you get off every week. Some of you have careers where you work many days straight then get well more than two days off. Take for example most firefighters, EMT’S, or other servicemen and women. Most of them work 24 hours on and get two days off. Certain factory workers may work 30 days on and get a week or two off. People work funky schedules, that’s part of life. But, the people if you are working so many hours that you are unable to enjoy your “Alone Time” or time with family then what is life worth.

My family lost our mother 3 years ago. In fact, it was November 22nd of 2015 when I was in Iowa visiting my grandparents “Mom’s Parents”. It was my grandfathers birthday and he gets a kick out of seeing his grandchildren every chance he gets. I was helping my grandma clean up her yard and helping her with stuff she should need to be doing, you know, grandson stuff like lifting heavy bags and stuff. My phone rang and one of my brothers asked me if I was alone, I walked out of the garage and told him yes. He began to tell me that our mother was very sick, she had a brain aneurysm. I really did not know how to react, I mean I was angry because my last words to my mother were “you are going to have a stroke or a heart attack if you don’t slow down”. There was no I love you, or see ya next week, nope, it was those words above. I quickly ran into the house and explained to my grandparents that I needed to leave and head back to Springfield because mom was sick and I had to run the store. I had to lie to my grandparents, if I would have told them what really happened they would have been upset and at their age, I did not want that right from the start. I left and what is normally a 5-hour drive I made in about 4 hours and 20 minutes. Sorry, cops reading this. When I got to the hospital I walked into the NTICU room to see all these machines and hosed comping out of her. I started shaking, I went up to hold her hand and talk to her but, no response, she was in a coma. I simply could not believe it, what in the actual fuck had happened to my mom. I see her one day and she is gone the next.

Almost 2 weeks of living in the hospital, really only to run her business then head back up she went down for a scheduled CT Scan. Between her room and the CT room she had a major stroke, this was the stroke that took her. They brought her back to her room and she was on life support. It was time to say our goodbyes. As we all said goodbye to our mother I cried but I did not get that crazy fall on the floor cry, it was a strong cry. Everyone says you will have that psycho cry meltdown when the time is right. 3 years later I am still waiting for that meltdown, I don’t know if it will ever come or not.

For the next few months, I seemed to wander aimlessly, I was depressed, I had no damn idea what I was going to do. I worked for my mother, which means I was out of the job and so was my wife. So, no mom, no jobs and bills racking up. Then like most of you know that have read my story, I took a part-time job that would end with saving me and got a phone call that would save my life. That part-time job was Ozark Mountain Trading Company, it was a job in a field that I lived for. Then the phone call was from Shane on how he could help me turn my life around and get healthy which would end up not only helping me change my life but, change others. I worked hard for two goals, 1. Finish the MR340 and 2. Make my mom and dad proud. I finished one and I hope I did the other too.

It the past two years I have slowly started to have a different outlook on life. I for one am thankful when I wake up every day. This is something my mother did not have one day. but the more I think about her and how much she worked I slowly started to realize that she didn’t work for herself, she worked for all of us employed by her. She worked to give her family the best she could offer and she sacrificed her life for that. The new outlook I had on life was not only about working hard to have a home and stuff but, it was about working hard to live my life. Something that she rarely had a chance to do. I was not going to be lazy, I was going to fight for my health and fight to improve my life and live my life. Some weird things happened to me, I started to look at everything different and I mean everything. My love of water and being in or on the water was something programmed into my heart but, before this, all it was, was fun, party, drink and do stupid things because they were fun. Now, I look at everything in a new light. I look are tree’s, flowers, waters, especially a good waterfall. I also started looking at people differently, which is actually a good and bad problem. I get a chance to meet all kinds of awesome people every day. I do my best to devote my time to them at work or when my friends need help. This is a bad thing in that I tend to double book myself and forget people. I feel bad and when I talk to them again I do my best to make it right by them. One of the best ways to change a person, even if for one minute is to “SMILE”. Author Rod Wellington lives his life by this simple thing. Smile, it really is easy and does have a profound effect on people. When people see you smile they see someone who is happy and loves what they do.

All of this rambling leads back to one main thing, when you get your days off from work, STOP WORKING. Do your lawn mowing and chores on your Friday night and Saturday morning then pack some shit up and go outside but, whatever you do, do something you enjoy. Once that time card is punched out on Friday it’s all about YOU time and the time you need to love your family, your wife and kids. If you don’t have kids then go camping or go get a shitty hotel room in a funky little town and explore it. You would not believe the world outside of your bubble. Even in your backyard. If you don’t think you have the money to do things like this, think again. Adventure is literally right outside your day. Most towns have parks, river walks, greenway trails or a state park within a small drive. All of this is free,  with the occasional donation to a state park which is minimal. People say camping is too expensive, why, well, the food, the tent, the ice. Ok, I get that but think about this. You already have to eat dinner or lunch no matter if you are sitting in a recliner or you’re in a forest or on a river. Sometimes recliner food cost’s more mainly because Domino’s does not deliver to most campsites. So you buy some hot dogs and some frozen burger meat and some buns…… you’re in for this trip for about 10 bucks so far. Next up, a tent, well there is ways around that, if your brave a 5 dollar tarp, some cordage and a couple shitty quilts with giving you more comfort than you think. If you have an SUV or van, fold the seats down, climb in, lay down and go to sleep. You can make a mini adventure for minimal money, as long as your out enjoying what you like doing.

I say all this because some people like my mother did not get to have many adventures in life. She lived for her grandchildren and us, she would literally jump in front of a moving bus to save us. Every couple years she would be able to go to Jamaica, or LA or the East Coast but it was more like a working vacation. She never really had a chance to wipe her mind clean of work to give her a fresh start for the next week. If one person walks away from this post and thinks, “you know, I do work too much and I need some downtime for myself” and it saves their lives literally, then I have achieved one of my goals in my life. Yes we all not to work and work hard in life but, never lose track that if you work too it can make you sick, very sick. Your body and mind need time to reset. Since I have woken up to all this I realize I smile more, I feel better and all the “Adulting” stuff will still get done but only on your time. We all have to “Adult” but, there is always time to be a kid.

Not much paddle talk in this post but, it is the time of year I start to look back and in order to help cope with my grief I wanted to try to uplift and hopefully change someone’s life. If this post makes absolutely no sense to you I at least hope you get a good laugh or even a smirk, I will even take a WTF. Either way, make your free time YOUR TIME, if it means ignoring a phone call from work just know it can wait until you go back to work. Your body can only handle so much and if you don’t allow it to recharge you’re going to be in a place that is not so much fun.

Lastly, I know some of you have most likely know someone who has had an aneurysm or a stroke, but, a lot of people don’t know the signs of a stroke and they happen fast so you have to act fast.

Signs of an aneurysm and stroke:

  • Sudden, Severe headache – the worst headache in your life
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Sudden blurred or double vision
  • Sudden Pain behind the eye or difficulty seeing
  • Sudden Change of Mental Status – awareness ……………. this is a big one to me
  • Trouble walking or dizziness
  • Sudden Weakness and Numbness
  • Sensitivity to Light
  • Seizure……………………………act extremely fast
  • Drooping eyelid.

I am obviously not a doctor but, it is easy to find accurate medical facts online. So please, work hard but, don’t work hard. Give yourself time to enjoy your life. Get out and enjoy the outdoors, if the outdoors is not your thing then ask your self what you like to do the most and put your focus on that.

Have fun and do stuff outside of the box. Hell, take a trip to Uranus, even if it’s just to get a pic. It’s amazing the places you will find if you just flow down and explore your local areas.



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