Asking the Hard Questions

I have been revisiting a lot of old bloggings from the past few years of my life, some inevitably get trashed but others I feel I will hang on to and revisit form time to time. My goal with this site and kayaking in general is not only to learn but to pass those lessons along to others. That’s why I write many times, other times I write just to lift a weight off of me that is too heavy to carry my whole life. This short little reflection was a perfect example of that after my friend Isaac passed on the Road Prong in North Carolina. It really made me question whether what I do is socially responsible or not and inconsiderate towards my family and friends. As you can see, it’s a few years later and I am still paddling. Kayaking has been the most important lifestyle decision I have made in my life as it has led me to a healthier and happier life. The risk is worth it.

From September 22, 2008 taken from the original

It’s been awhile for a lot of things.  Lately however what I have had no shortage of is asking myself the hard questions.  I was warned by my father that too much of this could be a bad thing.  I don’t think it has been too much.  But now I need to start acting on these things.

Occasionally I find that I am asking myself, “What the hell am I doing?”  It actually reminds me of an article I had read about Ed Viesturs, legendary mountaineer.  Before he reached his acclaim and the majority of his goals in climbing, including the worlds 14 highest peaks, he asked himself the same question when he was living out of friend’s homes when he was not incessantly traveling to or trying to accomplish his next big mission.  By no means am I comparing myself to Ed Viesturs, but right now I know what he was feeling.  What the hell do I have to show for?

This year was filled to the brim with… well, we will just say to the brim.  I had no deficiency of new adventures, plenty of work that would make many peoples heads spin, and a plethora of emotional  roller coasters.

Back in August, I lost my friend Isaac Ludwig to the river.  I have been kayaking for eight years and fortunately never had to deal with losing a personal friend doing what we love to do the most, until now.  It made me really ask if what I am doing is responsible.  What I mean is, I have many friends and family that my loss would affect, just as the absence of Isaac affects many.  I sat on the river one day thinking of this and was reminded why I choose to whitewater kayak, by the people that I paddle with, the challenges that I am faced with and how I deal with them.  I learn quite a bit about myself in this process and it blesses me with an understanding of how I operate.  There are many more reasons why I kayak and the people who understand me know this, just as the people who knew Isaac understood as well.  Regardless he will be missed and I will think of him when I paddle.

Kayaking affects me in so many ways that it determines what I do on a daily basis.  So much so, that I will drop everything just to be on the water.  This not only affects me but my friends, my family.  Not everyone understands, and I don’t expect that everyone would.  My friend Spencer Cooke recently wrote a great article on his website about this very topic.  Check it out, it’s well articulated and it comes from a person involved in a very positive way with this sport.

Professionally I am not where I want to be yet, and I do not expect that I will ever be entirely satisfied.  That is a good thing, it prevents complacence.  I am at a point where I feel in limbo and uncertain.  I know I need to work harder.  I look too far ahead at times and forget to look at what needs to be done right now.  It is aggravating not being where I want to be right now, but I think that is what makes it so satisfying once you are there.

I believe in the past few weeks I have been extremely reflective and have had some time finally to understand everything that has happened in my life recently.  It gave me a certain amount of peace, as I was able to listen to myself and really decide what it is that will be my next step in life.  This year was a whirlwind and I expect that it was only a preparation for next.  I look forward to continue living the dream.

I will from time to time revisit some of my older blog postings as I feel that they are a great way to not only see my personal growth but they remain pertinent to even now. Thanks for reading.

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