The past six months have been a whirlwind for me. We've had some major ups and downs, and everything in between. Time seems to be moving at twice the rate it was moving before our little boy arrived last June. In a few days I'll be saying goodbye to some of my best friends and starting a new professional journey after 3+ years with a great company. It's exciting for me to see the progress that I've made as a photographer. I've been able to team up with some awesome brands to promote recreation, adventure, and service.
This past weekend I learned an important lesson. I was able to attend the funeral of an aunt. She had suffered a severe stroke roughly 20 years ago following an extensive surgery to remove a large brain tumor. Since that time, she has faced overwhelming health challenges with overwhelming courage.
I learned a lot about my aunt Sadie at her funeral. When she was young, she spent her days exploring the Idaho countryside on horseback with her sisters. She was obsessed with horses, and had a love for all animals and the outdoors. She fell in love and married my uncle Bob. Her passion and adventure shifted to her little family and their life in the small town of Soda Springs, ID. She was known by everyone for her kindness, optimism, humor, and adventurous spirit.
Sadie's life circumstances changed dramatically after her stroke – she had to re-learn how to breath, how to talk, how to swallow, how to walk, how to live. The stroke took a lot from Sadie. It took away her independence, it took away her ability to ride horses, it even took away the functionality of the muscles in the left side of her face, but her stroke could not take away her spirit. Sadie remained one of the most loving, optimistic, humorous, and adventurous people you'd ever meet.
Sadie had every reason in the world to complain, but she didn't. She had every reason to shy away from people, but she didn't. She had every reason to give up, but she didn't. Sadie continued to adventure – it just looked different. Eating solid foods. Conversing with family and friends. Getting out of her chair. She gave it her all, and eventually she relearned to talk and was able to walk with help. Sadie continued to serve those around her (with the help of her husband and neighbors), she continued to smile, she continued to poke fun at my dad every time they sat down to talk.
This week, I learned that adventure has much more to do with our spirit than with what we are doing. Most of the adventures I share on social media are made up of time spent in the outdoors, whether it be camping, hiking, biking, or shooting photos, but some of the greatest adventures in my life involve life at home with my wife and baby, trying to determine the best career path for me and my family, meeting new people, trying new things.
What is adventure? It's a part of who we are. Your adventure will be different than mine, and it should be! Life would be boring if everyone's adventures looked the same.
"Of this be sure: You do not find the happy life... You make it" – Thomas S. Monson
I hope we can all be a little more loving, a little more optimistic, embrace humor a little more, and find adventure in our everyday lives. We could all afford to be a little happier.
Thanks for the invaluable life lesson Sadie!