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2.8 Kids with a White Picket fence and the Company Car

Submitted by runbvr on 2010-12-08

Rating: 12345   Go Login to rate this article.   Votes: 22 | Comments: 38 | Views: 8612

by Tyler Beaver

What is rockclimbing? (As if this question wasn’t cliché enough) What does rockclimbing mean to us climbers,.. and to outside viewers? I myself am a climber, I’ve got the shoes, the crash pads, the harnesses, the trad rack, I’ve made the trips to Wichita national forest in Lawton, Oklahoma, the trips to Garden of the Gods in Colorado, Minnehaha in Washington, Enchanted rock in Fredericksburg, Texas, I’ve been cold, been hot, taken falls, bouldered, belayed, trad climbed, sport climbed, and top-roped. I’ve got a “The North Face”, Petzl, Black diamond, and Marmot sticker on the back of my black 4x4 Nissan xterra! For what though? Why do we do these things we do? I don’t get to climb much currently, I live in Panama City, Florida now because of my job, and my parents came down for the few and far between family visits, that always seem to go by too fast as I look back, but at the time can’t get over soon enough, and during my visit, I asked my father when was the last time he had an adrenaline rush, and an awe-inspiring moment,… he didn’t know how to respond, he replied with, “I can’t really tell ya, to tell ya the truth.” This saddens me, what do we live for? For those adrenaline, filled and awe-inspiring moments? Those moments with our loved ones? To accomplish a specific task on this earth? To have “2.8 wonderful children and a house with a white picket fence?”

It seems to me that there are a few different sorts of people,.. there are those that are ok with being ok, they have the average house, the average job, the average income, have a few kids, and enjoy watching the game on Sunday evenings with his buddies, or have that game of golf every other weekend, for the ladies its going shopping with her friends once every few weekends, and this is there form of entertainment, or ‘what they do’ if you will, they vacation with the family once a year to Destin, Florida, and lay on the beach with their kids and watch the waves crash, then maybe go have a nice dinner somewhere in the evenings.

In society there are those that work 24/7, have plenty of greenbacks to their name, but work is their world, they eat sleep, and breathe work, and then when they take a breath it’s to eat dinner with their family every blue moon, they take the same sort of vacation to maybe a more expensive (Bahamas), stay in maybe a nicer hotel, and have the same sort of beach laying, lay in the sun with your kids, nice restaurant in the evening with your family, kind of experience.

Then there are those in society whose lives are made and centered around the mountains and the crags, we crave the adrenaline of the dyno to the jug on a 5.10c multipitch 600’ route, there is nothing more heart pumping than these adrenaline filled moments, its lets us know we’re alive, we’re not comatose in life like out 9-5, 2.8 kids, Destin, Florida counter parts. Our vacations are the mountains, the routes, the double black diamonds. We need no escape from these places, because we live and breathe these places, we define our lives not by the dollars in our accounts, but by the experiences in our lives. When all is done, and we are in our death beds, all that really matters is the experiences we have to remember, as General Patton once said, “in 30 years from now, when your grandchildren are sitting on your laps, and they ask, grandpa what did you do in the great world war II, you won’t have to say, well… I shoveled shit in Louisiana, and you may thank God for it.” This quote is how I feel about life in general. I don’t want to have to tell my grandchildren; well I worked at a bank for 30 years,..went to the beach a few times,.. that’s pretty much it. I want to be able to paint pictures of mountains, and danger and great experiences in their minds.
“And that’s all I have to say about that” -Forest Gump

I feel as though the people you meet in your local climbing shops or your local climbing gyms are the people that I’ve described above. They would enjoy a glass of red wine with you, a good conversations about the crag, maybe a Sundance film festival movie, I cherish these people, I really do, they are more concerned about who you are and where you've been and what you’ve seen than what your portfolio looks like, and I appreciate it all you crag, gym and outfitters shop people!

I hate the questions I get from people about my hobbies, but I love to answer them. I receive the questions/ statements like, that’s dangerous, it’s scary, or why would you do that to yourself,.. or I hate the snow and cold, and it’s so hard to climb, why would you want to work hard like that on your days off. The aforementioned strain of people make my insides turn. I answer them with a quote, and simply turn away and let it marinate in their minds, as I am going to do with you all reading this article!

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt/"The Man In The Arena" /Speech at the Sorbonne /Paris, France /April 23, 1910

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38 Comments CommentAdd a Comment

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nitpicking, but the Wichitas are not a National Forest. National Wildlife Refuge, actually.
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4 out of 5 stars Nice essay - the title roped me in, I haven't read one of these in like a year or something
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I don't usually have to resort to dynos on .10c... :)
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I dig it.
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i'm not sure patton's quote really applies here.

fun to read, but i'm not sure a family is quite the prison sentence you make it out to be, at least in my experience. yes, there can be some "creeping malaise" in family life, i see it. however, i felt like this article seemed kind of self worshiping. climber=good. family man=bad.

but i might just be sensitive as my son is only a year old and i am balancing my family, my job, and climbing.
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I liked the article, and I agree with some of your views, especially about the people who are addicted to work, and then having it take over your life. But this is common to what ever people do. As I get older and am preparing for my own family, I notice that I am starting to fall into routines which I am kinda starting to like, which as a student seemed like the worst thing on earth. I like your desire to not fall into the day in day out routines that most working class people fall into, weather it is the same family vacations, or constant work ethic. But remember to ask yourself from time to time, why is climbing so much better? I know people that I could argue wasted their lives by making climbing the only thing that matters to them. Sure they have a great deal of FA's, but outside climbing, they did nothing with their lives. If you don't watch out, you might be telling your grandchildren when they ask about the great stuff you did in life, you might have to reply "I climbed rocks and slept in a van for 30 years..." or " I worked doing (blank) for 30 years and went climbing every second I could..." Aside from the adrenaline, how is that much different from "I worked at a bank for 30 years..went to the beach a few times...thats it?"

Sometimes I feel that most climbers have this sense that what they are doing is so great and profound. That we are somehow better than the business men, the athletes, the parents... more or less any non climber. But when you boil it down, we are just a bunch of people addicted to finding harder-than-neccessary ways up a piece of rock.
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1 out of 5 stars What! How can people like this article? First off, it begins by pointing out how cliche it is. Secondly, the awful mechanics are way too distracting to even be able to finish it.

This does not belong on the front page. It reminds me of the article written about the Red River Gorge a few months back.
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If people are happy doing what they do, no matter what it is, then shouldn't that be good enough for them?
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1 out of 5 stars Guy,

Let's be realistic, you're far too selfish to raise children, so you need not worry about what you'll tell your grandkids.

Maybe doing dynos on 5.10c will give you what you need to support a family, to feed and clothe your kids. If thats the case, then you must live a really rich life indeed.

But seriously guy, the rest of us work, we contribute to society. I don't like getting sand in my bathing suit and I'm a lousy swimmer too, so I rock climb instead of sitting on the beach. Once or twice a year, I take a break from my desk, pack up my gear and head for a piece of rock that I can play on for a week. Then I go back to the "Monotony" that you call work so I can make a living, pay my rent, feed my kid and hang out with my "Boring" non-climber friends who still like me for who I am.

Grow up and get this off the front page.

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Flaming aside, I think we can all identify with the feeling you describe...and I don't think it is mutually exclusive with family, etc. It's an important feeling that we get in climbing and should not lose touch with.
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There is more to life than climbing. People can find the same passion that you have for climbing through other hobbies, interests, their career, their families, and their social circles.

The picture painted of non-hardcore climbers makes their lives look pretty grim. Not all workaholics have meaningless jobs. Many workaholics love what they do for the challenge, and their work often reaps great benefits for society. Additionally, I think there's something to be said for seemingly "average" people who can find pleasure in everyday things.

However, for those attracted to natural challenges, outdoor sports and outdoor adventures can be pretty fun and meaningful. They provide a physical and mental challenge, a reason to enjoy being outside, and even a cool group of friends.

However, don't think that your 600' 5.10 multi-pitch adventure is more meaningful than a class V waterfall, an athlete's college football career, a researcher's society-changing discovery, a person's effort to start a successful business, or a parent's efforts at raising a family of children. Everyone has a story to tell.
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well said, drgobig.
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After reading the article a couple of times it dawned on me that the writer is not writing or thinking badly about those that work a 9-5, have 2.8 kids and takes beach vacations once a year; the writer is writing about those whose whole life revolves around work and accumalating money and things and they get stuck in what the writer perceives as a mundane type of being were all their is is work and cookie cutter vacations. Being a family man myself I am not the least bit offended by what the writer is stating because its not me he is writing about. On the flip side, after living on this planet as long as I have and looking back at all that I have accomplished and all that my children will accomplish I would feel very ashamed and regretful if I spent all that time rock climbing and adventure finding. The message here is not to become that mundane person but to seek out adventure and live life to the fullest extent possible whenever possible without shrugging off lifes responsibilities. The article itself was written by someone who has not yet fully experienced life yet, which you cant hold that against him or her.
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Whether or not the writer has experienced life, maybe someone could give them a few pointers on punctuation and run-on sentences.

And while you may think you work to support society, you actually work so stock brokers can crash the system, suck your 401k dry, then ask for a bail-out and go right back at it.

As with most things, the truth lies somewhere between. There is nobility in a good job well done, and there is also nobility in answering the call of the human spirit that makes us "conquistadors of the useless".

At least this kid tried to put it into words. Keep trying... but work on your form...
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1 out of 5 stars This does not belong on the front page. It is a stylistic nightmare.
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i loved it. my favorite part was when you said you wanted to paint pictures of mountains for your grandchildren. this was great for me to read because i come from a climbing family. your idea of a great life is very similar to mine.
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My thoughts on your perspective aside... You appear to have the art of writing. Work on the craft of it.
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What j_ung said.
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i live in a place where the cookie cut way of life is about all there is
if for instance, i do something so odd that the others think of me as way to odd, they will not let me into the group for reasons of fear

i was once not let into a climbing wall because i was to outspoken and was in much better shape than most people there

here, school, money and material items are god to most of them

i like and support what the article says
do not make money and material items god

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roininthorne-Stockbrokers do no crash the system. Nor did they crash the system. Put your money in cash. Call your 401 dept at work and tell them to change to cash or c.d for your asset allocation. Banks got the bailout from Obama with the hope for homeowners. Except Obama is too inexperienced, may have good ideas but dosen't follow through. Example millions were sent to savings banks, who didn't even ask. So they had parties , Sheryl Crow complaining she didn't get paid enough to sing at the Beverly Wilshire and corporate executives got fat bonuses.
Meanwhile sweet old ladies, got thrown out of their homes, or a shitty loan modification with a ballon payment just about the time they will be 80. Just so after paying the loan for 20 years and the interest its pretty much a "pseudo rental" and will lose the house.

As far as 2.8 kids, white picket fence if someone was so altrustic they could adopt unwanted children instead of having their own. So its has a valid point.
We only have one life, mine as well be happy with it , whether your a full-time climber or Not. If you feel more comfortable at the crags than arranging your flowers in front of your house its cool too. Or helping the endangered wildlife.
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While people are getting sidetracked on the economy, lets not forget that it was the Bush administration that crashed the economy, not Obama's. It's like moving into a burning house and then being blammed when it burns down. Gov't policies takes al least 3-5 years to run their course and show the effects they had on the economy/GDP/standard of living, I learned that one in Econ 110 a long time ago, but we are a culture of impress me now and everything has a 24 hour attention span. If things are bad, we as a culture only look to who is currently in the driver seat and give them the ticket, regardless of who caused the mess. In reality it is the American People that contributed mostly to the crash. Our sense of entitlement, our sense that we should only pay for what we want or need, and our hipocracy of wanting public services without having to pay for it.

I can go on a rant about the economy and who is to blame, but to sumarize it quick, our major issue is that rich people like to stay rich and the top 1% are the only votes that really matter. If you don't have a lobbiest, you don't get to vote for anything which is why the top 1% has been protected regardless of which "party" is in office. (they just lobby to both parties, ahh the convenience of only needing to bribe 2 groups) Obama is clearly not a golden child but is actually (or doing a good job pretending) trying to do something about it. Even the bail out goes on Bush IMO, as it wouldn't have been needed if Bush did not fill the SEC with ex bankers and loosen restrictions on the packaging of securities. Yes there were plenty of issues with the bailout, but that was from hundreds of congress men getting their dicks wet on a bill that needed to be passed to prevent a world economic collapse.

Our founding fathers would prolly off themselves if they saw what a circus common law and the political system have developed into over the last 5 decades.

(edited to fix 50 decades to 5 decades)
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Been climbing thirty years or so, but have slowed down the past few years as I focus more on my family. Been very involved in youth sports with my now 9 year old son, and I've found there is something uniquely fulfilling about trying to encourage a young boy disappointed that his team didn't win despite him giving 110% in the effort. I think he'll be more impressed with that when he grows up than stories about my dirt bagging days.
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BTW, both he and his 5 year old sister have successfully top roped an 80 ft. 5.7, camp with me several times a year, including in the back yard, ski proficiently, have numerous friends they play with, and are curious students of life. I say, "What more can I ask for?"
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I completely understand where the author is coming from since I had the exact same mindset a few years ago. As I was finishing up college & preparing to enter the working world, it all seemed so fake & dreary. "How can all these poor working bastards have been fooled so easily into trading their precious moments of life for average paychecks? Suckers, the lot of them. I’ll only work enough to support my outdoors interests & feed myself."

Well, it has been a few years and I definitely don't see things the same way now. Work can bring great enjoyment to life. I work as an engineer, and many of my hobbies revolve around technical subjects. The challenges presented at work and in my hobbies are thoroughly enjoyable much of the time. Sure, there are days where I just want to cut-out of work at 12 on a Tuesday & drive into the mountains as fast as I can, but full-time employment is far from the great devil some seem to think it is. It can be a terrible waste of your life, but that is usually only the case when monetary gain is your sole motivation. Climbing definitely provides a conduit for physical, mental & spiritual development. However, there are many aspects of mental development that climbing is not a surrogate for.

Variety is the spice of life, and for me learning a multitude of things in widely varying fields makes life far more enjoyable. Focusing on one or two things is good too, but one needs to be careful not to get lost in their specialties. Nobody likes getting stuck talking to someone at a party that can’t manage to discuss anything other than their work or kids. Those topics can involve sharing between individuals, but they usually end up being self-centered diatribes. I have found the exact same thing to be true with some climbers. When climbing is someone’s whole life, they just aren’t all that interesting to talk to for any extended period of time. If climbing is your career & puts food on your table, then it is understandable that your world revolves around it. For the rest of us, variety is important.

Also, don’t forget that modern climbing wouldn’t be possible without desk-slaves. Mathematicians, chemists & engineers are responsible for the development of new materials & fabrication techniques that enable much of modern climbing to happen. A great many material advances that we enjoy daily have come from (gasp!) military research. Most of the engineering principles used to design safe climbing gear have come from things about as far from climbing as imaginable (cars, planes, bridges & “consumer whore” stuff). Disparage office slaves if you want, but the next amazing lightweight composite protection gear will probably have been derived from the unrelated work of some overweight, balding, pasty guy in a lab somewhere.

Finally, I don’t want to end my own (long) comment sounding like desk jobs are glorious. They certainly are not much of the time. Many people get saddled with kids without really thinking about the implications for their personal life. They can end up slaving away for money & turning to consumer whorism as their only outlet for self-expression (and it is a piss-poor outlet). Other people get blinded by greed, plain & simple. Greed applies to more than money though. Living a completely self-fulfilling life can be greedy, and since climbing is a very self-fulfilling activity, it can be construed as greedy. Maybe avid climbers criticize people whose greed follows money do so because deep down, they know that they are greedy too, so they hide behind excuses about not polluting or feeding the “evil” corporate machinery. In my opinion, “climbing greed” is definitely less bad than “consumer whore greed,” but bad is still bad. We are all guilty of greed to some extent, & we should at least be honest with ourselves about it. Judging others’ lifestyles can’t justify our own denial.
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Here's what I wish I had known in my 20's... It's not the climbing, it's the passionate pursuit of life.

The trap is thinking that it's climbing and limiting yourself to that.
The trick is finding a way to have it all and pursue a life of passion.
There is no greater reward in life than loving others deeply. That's why formally cool people seem so damn happy married with kids (they are).

At times my work is better than a balls out alpine climb. Think about it, climbing does not hold a monopoly on cool. How about surgery? Hold your shit together doing that and bouldering still looks like a pussy sport. There are plenty of cool ways to have the thrill of climbing and some balance in life; Flying, litigating, etc.

It's possible to be totally correct in an opinion and still be painting your life into a corner of limitations.
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I'm sorry. I swear I'm trying to put this as delicately as possible, but really, the author of this PoS article sounds like a GINORMOUS douche!
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Tyler, you should be encouraging people to work, breed and consume as much as possible. That leaves the crags and mountains for the rest of us. Let them all "shovel their shit" and then eat it too.
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"I don’t get to climb much currently, I live in Panama City, Florida now because of my job"
Author is venting because he is living , by his own free will I must add, where there is no climbing, and he has turned into the very type of person he has railed against in this essay.
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Chugach001 - very good response that raises good issues. Climbing can be used as a vehicle to live life. The long road trips, the walk in, sitting around the camp fire at the end of the day drinking beer and cooking a communal dinner on the hot coals...Its the communal experience man... I would like to add this poem my W. H. Auden - The unkown citizen

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn't a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Installment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for he time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace; when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.
-- W H Auden

perhaps being normal and working 9-5 and doing everything that society asks of us is another way of happiness - possibly not that bad at all, always being in your comfort zone and having other people tell you where and how you can get pleasures...
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My favorite quote "No amount of success can compensate for failure at home" I have 4 children and still get out at least 2 days a week. It's not about climbing at all it's about being happy doing something. I have never been happier then when one of my children does something well. It also is amazing to be doing what you love with your children. I have 2 sons and 2 daughters, everyone in the family loves climbing. My sons and I are always either hitting the skatepark or paddling out to surf together. I was in Tennessee for most of my life but wanted to have the mountains and the ocean, so I moved to Santa Barbara where life is almost perfect(could always use more $). I think the author of this thread is unhappy with his choices so is trying to lay judgment on others in his situation. The thing is if you want something go get it. I wouldn't sit in springbreak hell whining about the situation I put myself in. If you hate Florida move, I would.
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Good write up:) agree and disagree:) Great Quote Airbender:)
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For me it's all a matter of BALANCE. Sure, my climbing has suffered since the birth of our two sons (now 3 or 5 mos.), but becoming a father has brought more joy and challenge than I ever could have imagined. But the 3 year old is going to the gym with me every so often and I'm sure in no time they'll be hauling my butt up the hard stuff.
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love the article.
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"there's them that do and them that don't and some ya just can't tell".
be at peace brother - with them all!
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To bmwman91 and airbender, Please consider collaborating on the next installment. Your comments were thoughtful and, from my end, greatly appreciated.

Indeed, many of the comments that stress balance and the often competing stresses and joys of parenting/work/play were fabulous!
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I did not read all the comments about this article, but I am surprised out how many "critics" read this page. If you read the article, it did not seem to me he was saying "be a loser and just climb and go for the adrenaline all the time." It seemed to me, he was saying don't lose that sense of adventure, just because you have a job, family and other. People in my experience tend to get in to a mindset of saying " I can't do that anymore, I have children, I have a job, I have .... " The truth is you can be a successful professional, an adventurouse person and live life to the fullest. Part of being a great father is showing your children that life is full of responsibilities, but it does not mean you can't have fun too. Anything to excess is not a good thing, whether it be work, rock climbing, money and even family. I go on a trip for a couple days each year completely by myself, I miss the heck out of my kids and wife, but it is good for me and good for them, it is a part of any good relationship.

I felt this article was straight from the heart and a moment in time of how this person was feeling. He is saying enjoy every moment, don't work TOO much, take to time to get a rush, live and build experiences to share with your children and grandchildren and pass that enthusiasm for life on to them!!
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by the way, I live in Panama City, not by choice, but by the military telling me to, I work in AFSOC
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Great article, it exactly mirrors my own views of life, views that most of the 9-5 people can't comprehend. I completely understand the need to really live life, as opposed to what billions of ordinary people in this world do today.

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