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Help Me Out Here...

Tuco the Dog shows me her rib bone that she is particularly proud of. Ignore the dust on the floor. It comes with the job.

Do you think people love their dogs so much because they accept us as we are?  Is it because we know where we stand with a dog and there is never any question about where their love and loyalty lie?  Most likely.  I wish people ( and the world ) were more like dogs.

10 years ago or closer to 11 now I guess, I bailed out of Corporate America.  Actually, I got my ass fired for doing too good of a job.  The trucking business is a dangerous game and lives and fortunes are gambled on everyday decisions.  They hired a new ‘sheriff in town’  who was to be my boss.  Like any new boss, he had to make his mark and in that biz, you gotta make it pretty quick.  The problem was the changes he wanted to make were a moderately radical departure from the current company line.    I didn’t buck the changes but every person in the department would look to me for my thumbs up or down — I had earned their loyalty and respect  and in their eyes, I was the BOSS and always would be.  So I got shit canned less than a month later.  Threat removed.  The new guy lasted eight months.  Best thing that ever happened to me.

Without a job that required me to be in the office 80 hours a week and glued to a cell phone the rest of the time,  I rediscovered my life.   Spending over $100k a year took lots of effort.  My real friends were not ‘real’ at all.   I had two great kids.   I could eat baloney and appreciate the fact that I had something to eat.   You can want too much….. and that is a key factor.

“There is only one success – to spend your life in your own way.” – Christopher Morley

Sometime this late winter I woke up and thought “I have enough.” and it made me happy. So I asked Miss K ” Do we have enough to be happy?” and she said “Sure”. Since we had enough, we decided to give some of what we had to the kids and that was what the Tucson trip was all about. It made them happy too.

Now some of you will do some digging through the blog here and figure out that we don’t have much. No big house; hell, not even a little house! No boat or jetski. No new car. No walk in closets full of dry cleaned clothes — none of that. Both of us – in separate lives – had all that and more but we were not happy. If you are reading this and you have all that stuff and it makes you happy, well, that makes me happy as well. The last thing I am saying  is that our simple life should be your goal as well. Not even.

Miss Kathy and I have enough.

September 2010 -- Miss K at Stillwell Ranch. Big Bend, Texas

So if I am all happy and stuff, living with me should be like living with Captain Kangaroo,  right?  Not hardly.   I still have moments when I lose it and those moments happen more often than I would like. Sometimes I get so caught up in the OCDness of the instant, everything has to run according to a plan and timetable ; I can get wound tighter than an eight day clock.  The kids called it ‘being on a Mission’ and they knew to lay low until the mission was completed or the beer kicked in.  A few weeks ago, I went off on a mission tangent and unfortunately Miss K was standing in the middle of the path and I ran over her like a bus.  Fortunately, she is the yin to my yang and she stopped me in my tracks with two simple sentences.

Everything does not have to be black and white.  It is okay to be grey.

 

She could have hit me right square between the eyes with an ax handle and the effect would have been no greater.  My whole life has been black and white.  People were good or bad.  Questions were yes or no.  Situations were go or no go.  The ability to make those snap decisions on the go and undaunted was the basis of my business success.    It took 105 pounds of Arizona whip leather to show me there was another way.

So does that mean I am evolving into a hippie 40 years too late?  Or a socialist?   or a left coast tree hugger liberal?   Not hardly.  We ( Miss K and me and Tuco the Dog) still have our dreams of the simple life out in Terlingua, Texas and we are steadily grinding away to achieve that goal.  One of my oft repeated sayings back in the day was “Life Sucks…. Then You Die.”   I believed that until I was 46 years old.  Those words will never fall out of my mouth again.

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4 comments to Help Me Out Here…

  • Joel

    “Everything does not have to be black and white. It is okay to be grey.”

    Yeah, that’s something a lot of medical students have trouble dealing with. You make a lot more progress in life, and suffer a lot less grief, if you learn to cope with ambiguity.

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  • coal

    I can sure relate to your black and white theory, I think that is normal for guys to have that mentality. Pressure is on the perform and pay the bills, little time for anything else, you get conditioned after so many years of it.

    I had my trailer burned down and we lost everything in it. Three years later I still have not replaced all the stuff and see no need too either. My dad later in his life, always said, less is more, think I am leaning towards that way of thinking now. I work a little slower these days too, and its easy for me to sit down and yak with a customer or buddy, where as I used to never have any time for that. I realize too, my stress level is almost non existent non. Days are very relaxed now, easier and more fulfilling too.

    Just getting onto 50 now, and changing my thinking to where, life starts now for me.

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  • don

    Great post! You are right about ‘things’; we need them but in our culture MORE is better. I see folks traveling with 4 ATVs; towing a boat and a trailer; guys who believe in ‘he who dies with the most toys wins’. You were right to share some of what you have with your kids. It is truly better to give than to receive.

    Thanks!

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  • I love both comments. Miss K’s Everything doesn’t have to be black and white – that isn’t just gender or aging talking, it’s wisdom. And your realization that not so much is just enough. That’s been an invaluable lesson for me, having come from quite a bit financially to making ends meet, but really loving the journey. Good reminder, Andy.

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