I received an email from my best friend of 37 years the other day. She and her two children are heading for Vancouver Island, where the kids will be spreading the ashes of their father who chose to commit suicide recently. I’d known Steve for many years, longer than Jan had actually, and he chose an unvarying path to his destiny long before his children where even born. Daniel and Angie, there was nothing you could have ever said or done to prevent what happened, it was his choice and his alone, nothing is your fault. That goes for you too my friend, though I think you fully understand and accepted that many years ago.
I’ve spent a lot of my spare time thinking since getting this news. About my life, my circumstances, my choices. Like most other people these days, I’m overwhelmed and underpaid, wondering how I can pay the bills at the end of each month while doling out little bits and pieces to my creditors, hopefully keeping them quiet for another 30 days. I’ve been dirt poor for the last 5 years, and this current economic downturn with massive cost of living increases has completely consumed any financial security I thought I may have had. With that said, I realise I’m incredibly happy and amazingly fortunate.
I’ve experienced many things in my life, both good and bad, but I now know I wouldn’t trade away a single one of them. From minor involvement with drugs and a well known biker gang to being a fairly accomplished equestrienne. From choosing to give up a child for adoption to the thrill of being a thoroughbred racehorse groom and exercise rider. From being married, not once but twice to being a single parent of a teenager, who now seems to be growing up to be a fine young man. From moving to the middle of nowhere, leaving family and friends to managing a ranch and succeeding in a man’s world, gaining the respect and friendship of those who have been ranching for a lifetime. From having a nervous breakdown to overcoming and learning to deal with PTSD.
I’m a survivor. I taught myself to start my own seeds, organically garden and preserve what I grow years ago. I can fish and yes, I clean what I catch. I’ve butchered steers and cut the meat correctly so it isn’t ruined. I’m not afraid of getting dirty and hard physical labour and at 50, I must say, I’m pretty damn fit. I am a jack of all trades and a master of none, which suits me just fine. My life is incredibly good and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. I sincerely hope that anyone reading this can say the same.