Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Luckiest Guy in the World.

Sometimes we need a reminder of just how fortunate we are. While there are times that I am a very positive, happy-go-lucky guy that feels he has life figured out, then there are certainly times that I feel like things just don't workout like they should and that life is tough. Today, I watched Into the Wild for the third time. Each time I watch it I am reminded of some very, very important things.

From my days as a college student going on climbing adventures with my wife and brother I have always wanted to just quit my job and be a climbing bum in Yosemite. I have gone on many climbing trips with my great friend Jim McGuire. Each time we go to Colorado we talk about it for weeks or months and count down the days until we leave. We almost always plan on a weeks worth of climbing. We call our wives and talk with our daughters daily. Nearly every time we are on the road back to Iowa by the fifth day dying to see our family again.

In watching Into the Wild I get this HUGE urge to realize yet again the importance of family and friendships, that life doesn't always have to be an adventure, the unimportance and unsatisfaction money and things bring us, and that everyday we need to love doing what we are doing or what is the purpose of it all.

I have been blessed. Very blessed. I have a wonderful, wonderful wife and daughter.
I have great parents and great brothers. I have a job where I can help teenagers make the most of their high school years and to help parents be the best parents they can be. I am VERY lucky. I have a good income, a nice house, and stuff, but...... what really makes me happy everyday is having my wife and daughter with me. Hearing from my brother Mark, spending time with my dad, having my mom call me everyday (twice by noon today!) and spending time with my friends.

I was given some excellent advice by a teacher I was replacing when I got my first teaching job. He had just gone through a nasty divorce and I really looked up to him as he had a heart for kids and was an excellent teacher. He told me on the first day of school, "Paul, you can be married to your job or you can be married to your wife. You need to decide right now." This REALLY hit home to me and I will never forget it. I also heard this comment a long time ago, but I don't remember where, "You don't ever hear someone on their death bed wish they had put in more hours at work."

If you haven't seen Into the Wild yet you should check it out. It is an amazing movie. I can relate with Chris McCandless pretty well, and am fortunate that I didn't have to learn the hard way to appreciate the fact that good times are much, much better when shared with other people.

Thank you guys for being good friends.



Huevos con Salsa said...

It's a great book too. You won't be able to put it down and you'll want to read it again when you are done.

Paul said...

I was fortunate to be given the book by my brother right when it came out. It is an awesome book to be sure. When Sean Penn and the others were making the rounds on the tv shows talking about the movie they gave away the end over and over. When I was reading the book, without knowing the end, I was constantly hoping he was going to make it out alive.

Thanks for the comment Huevos!

Mark said...

Another great line I heard about wives and family was from the first base coach that got killed by a foul ball last year. They all have to wear helmets now. He was being interviewed in the locker room and making fun of he's wife's lack of baseball knowledge. I was watching it when Sarah came in and was wondering what hell happened to me cause I was all balled up wailing away. And I pretty much lost it after "Into The Wild". I think I have 10 years of crying built up in me and it only comes when I watch sad movies. I'm such a girl:)

This is what the guy said though:

"She makes the hard times easy, and the good times better."

BTW I know a guy calls his privates "Huevos Rancheros"

Carney said...

If you haven't already, you should read "Last American Man". A most excellent read!

I think you'll like this one as well:

If you want to die the richest man, then just stay sharp. Keep investing. Don't spend anything. Don't eat any of the capital. Don't have a good time. Don't get to know yourself. Don't give anything away. Keep it all. Die as rich as you can....But you know what? I heard an expression that puts it well: There's no pocket on that last shirt.
- Susie Tompkins Buell ("Let My People Go Surfing")

You doing the 6 hr next weekend??

Paul said...

I am planning on doing the six hour. I am excited to read that you may be coming. I hope you can make it. I wonder just how many times you can lap me!??!

I will have to check out the book. Thanks!

Carney said...

I am hoping to make it back. From the sounds of things the trail is super wet. My fingers are crossed that it dries out, however the forecast is calling for some rain on sat...hope they are wrong! I really don't feel like battling wets roots there!!

the inebriationist said...

Cheers Paul. Not sure I could count how many times I wished I could chuck it all for a backpack, though most of the time I'm satisfied with my life's's comforting to hear others share that itch.