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To summarize this all would be futile. However, to tell you what I learned and believe from it all might be acceptable. This may seem off subject, but these are the lessons I believe I have learned and are worth telling.

  1. This one comes from my dad: It has nothing to do with kayaking, but also has everything to do with it. That is entering into and maintaining a long term relationship. With it you have the peace of mind that comes with that part of your life that allows you to feel like you can “go out on a limb” in other parts of your life. Without it you will always question whether it may be time to “settle down” and create a normal living environment that would be more attractive to a significant other. As my dad once told me, In his exact words: “Eric, you have to take 100% responsibility for every relationship in your life, there is no such thing as 50/50.” I didn’t really know what he meant at the time, I was 16. I do know now. There have been millions of moments in my life where I felt like the person I was interacting with wasn’t putting in their 50% to make the relationship work. This is most apparent in my marriage. If I only was willing to put in my 50% and no more, than we would not meet in the middle on many occasions, in fact we would not meet at all sometimes. To not meet means that somebody gets let down and ultimately the relationship is failing. The only way to, for certain, assure your relationship will work, is to go all of the way to provide whatever the other person wants or needs. This takes all of the guess work out of relationships. You never wonder just how much you should do to make it work. You simply do whatever it takes, always. The funny thing is nobody wants to be the weak link in a relationship, nobody of any quality will ride you unless they think you are doing the same.
  2. Living a secure life is living a lie- There is no such thing as security. Not in your work, your lifespan, your finances, or your happiness. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just means that giving up what you really love in exchange for a “more secure” job, recreation, or relationship is to purposely reduce the quality of your life. Hedging your bets in a world where the odds are not in your favor regardless is a sad way to face loss. If you are likely to lose your job to one factor or another beyond your control in the next 5-10 years, then why not work in a job that you can say, “I am so lucky I was able to do that for 5 years” instead of “after 5 years of sacrificing for this company, this is what I get”. In a world where your money can inflate or crash especially if you try to grow it in the market, you will regret trying to be the “millionaire next door” if it means that you sacrifice the prime active years of your life for that singular long term goal. Have you seen the world? Have you seen your country? Believe me, saving for future goals is something I believe in, but not to the extreme of losing on all of the potential best memories of your life now
  3. Trading an idealistic significant other for one who is realistic and is more secure. Same concept, if you choose one person over another because of what they have now, that person will feel that and you will always live trading favors to keep the ledger balanced. If you fall in love with someone but they have nothing you obviously need other than their companionship you will have the opportunity to have a full on relationship where the motivations are always based on strengthening the thing that brought you together in the first place, the feeling for each other. That doesn’t mean that you can’t marry someone rich, as long as you don’t enter that into your equation, even once, because you can’t hide anything from your partner that they want to know.

Well that is enough of what I think. Who am I to talk about these things anyway? Just someone who considers himself the luckiest person alive, and wants to share what I know works for me. Take it or leave it, I just kept on pecking at the keys and my thoughts kept pouring out. I think I am done now. So many holes in the order of things though. Swimming, airplanes, fishing. My other three obsessions. Some other time.

Kristine, love of my life

Our first family run of Canal Falls, a success

Emily, her first waterfall

Dane’s run down Canal Falls