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The sacrifices we make in life for paddling

Glenn MacGrady

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"Is it giving up a real job to paddle? Dying while pushing your limits? Or, maybe you are divorcing your wife because she doesn’t get it. What kind of sacrifices do you make to get on the river?"


This is a short article and kind of depressing. But realistic at least for some paddlers, I think. Since >95% of the paddling I've done in my life did not include family members, I'd say in retrospect that my numerous weekend paddling absences probably negatively affected my family life in various ways. But life is complicated, and still is, so it's hard to reflect objectively on many things from 30 or 40 years ago.
 
I don't have time to read the article right now but while for many of us it might be paddling and being on the water I'm going to guess it applies to nearly everyone depending on what their selfish pleasures are.

Alan
 
I'm going to guess it applies to nearly everyone depending on what their selfish pleasures are.

Excellent point. Yes, I think the question could apply to any sort of consuming hobby or addiction such as golf, fishing, etc., ad infinitum.
 
Excellent point. Yes, I think the question could apply to any sort of consuming hobby or addiction such as golf, fishing, etc., ad infinitum.
IMO - Relationships are the most important thing in life. So there is no "selfish pleasure" that is worth sacrificing a relationship with someone you love. This is why, if I am paddling, I have someone with me. Usually, a son or daughter or friend or all of the above. The experience together deepens those relationships.
 
So there is no "selfish pleasure" that is worth sacrificing a relationship with someone you love.

mhmm - depends on how much risk you are willing to take when practicing your hobby.
If you are prepared to take a higher risk, you are nevertheless selfishly ignoring the well-being of your loved ones.
Do I really have to ride the white water section at high water with c3-4 and expose myself to a possible accident and its consequences? the potential impact would not only be bad for me.

It's just like in real life - when the testosterone and adrenaline levels rise, the brain shuts down.
 
Do I really have to ride the white water section at high water with c3-4 and expose myself to a possible accident and its consequences?


I wouldn't speak for "I" but speaking for myself that is exactly what I will be doing 37 days from now! (I will be dragging around the one C5).
 
I look at it a little different. Paddling isn’t a sacrifice that that takes me away from other things. It’s the part of having a balanced life that gets me outside to have fun, encourages me to stay physically fit, and allows me to spend some time with good friends. Of course, you need to keep things in moderation, and we have all seen people who have lost that balance.

Maybe it is just me rationalizing. I have a day off from work today, and there are lots of things that I could do on this Easter weekend, but I am going paddling. My wife is OK with it, I’ll be with family the rest of the weekend, so today is a little “me-time”. It’s a choice, and I try to find time once a week if I can – to keep my life in balance. ;)
 
Very interesting post. My first thought is I make sure all my canoes are tandem not solo, a sacrifice in ease of paddling, to make sure my dog can go with me … but that is really not what Glenn is after.

To his point, I have missed out on some family events to participate in my wilderness adventures. My daughter has a birthday in mid June, often the only month I could trip when I was working years ago. As my children have become adults and I have gotten a bit older it is much easier for me to find balance … 10-15 years ago every decision involved a sacrifice of some kind.

Bob.
 
Very interesting post. My first thought is I make sure all my canoes are tandem not solo, a sacrifice in ease of paddling, to make sure my dog can go with me …

Excellent point and one that was completely missed in the original article. Kayaking is what got me into serious paddling but my dog is the reason I bought my first canoe and sold all my kayaks.

My dog is also the reason I designed and built my own racing/fitness canoe. She couldn't fit in the bow of a commercial racing hull.

She's also the reason I don't take up cycling, even though I want to.

She's one of the reasons I haven't taken a serious canoe trip in the last 5 years - she's too old for that now.

Thanks for the post, Bob. I was feeling like a selfish jerk until you made me look at it from another angle.

20120828_007 by Alan, on Flickr

Alan
 
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When I think of all the sacrifices my "life" has imposed on my paddling, any sacrifices that tripping has made on my life are insignificant. Now that I'm retired I hope to reverse that. I have a new plan. SCREW EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING, I'M GOING TRIPPING. I hope I can put it into action, I think I owe myself that.
 
Agree its all about balance. If I'm not happy, I'm probably not being a very good husband and father, and probably not doing my job very well either. So I have to find ways to keep myself happy, and paddling is one of them.
 
Agree its all about balance. If I'm not happy, I'm probably not being a very good husband and father, and probably not doing my job very well either. So I have to find ways to keep myself happy, and paddling is one of them.
I can relate to this post big time, not necessarily just with canoeing, but with my interests in general. The balancing part is hard, and I agree with a direct correlation between happiness and time spent doing the things we love.

Im at a point in life where I have young kids that are very difficult to bring along, but also difficult to leave with friends and family for an extended period of time. That’s going to change over the next few years and I’m hoping the kids will enjoy the outdoors the way I do, and the wife will continue pushing her boundaries outside as well.

The problem a lot of times is I have to “burden” my wife with the kids if I go somewhere solo or with my dad/brothers/friends. She understands the need for me to disconnect and has really been a rockstar, but I know it still wears on her. So finding that balance between “me” time and family time is like walking a balance beam. Trips have been shorter and closer to home, family trips cater to the kids while giving mom as much relaxation time as possible. It’s all trade offs.

This September we are going to take our oldest (four) daughter on a 4 day canoe trip in Massasauga Provincial Park while the in-laws watch my twins that are two. Hopefully that’s the start of some great family memories.

-Jake
 
It is a matter of priorities. I have paddled since 1960, but have never sacrificed anything for paddling.
I have had a few trips cancelled even though they were planned months in advance because I had to work in some far flung location on a holiday. I always resented that when paddling was sacrificed.
 
I can relate to this post big time, not necessarily just with canoeing, but with my interests in general. The balancing part is hard, and I agree with a direct correlation between happiness and time spent doing the things we love.

Im at a point in life where I have young kids that are very difficult to bring along, but also difficult to leave with friends and family for an extended period of time. That’s going to change over the next few years and I’m hoping the kids will enjoy the outdoors the way I do, and the wife will continue pushing her boundaries outside as well.

The problem a lot of times is I have to “burden” my wife with the kids if I go somewhere solo or with my dad/brothers/friends. She understands the need for me to disconnect and has really been a rockstar, but I know it still wears on her. So finding that balance between “me” time and family time is like walking a balance beam. Trips have been shorter and closer to home, family trips cater to the kids while giving mom as much relaxation time as possible. It’s all trade offs.

This September we are going to take our oldest (four) daughter on a 4 day canoe trip in Massasauga Provincial Park while the in-laws watch my twins that are two. Hopefully that’s the start of some great family memories.

-Jake
Yeah, little kids are definitely a challenge. I'm sure many if not most here can relate. Here's a little story for you. I dragged my now adult Outward Bound instructor kid out into the woods alot when he was a kid, and while he didn't actively resent it, he certainly didn't push for it either. A couple of years ago some of his other OB instructor friends started doing a podcast, and one of their first guests was my kid, who proceeded to relate about how I'd drag him into the woods and he wasn't real happy about it. And then he went to college and met other kids who actually LIKED getting dragged or dragging others into the woods. And just like that, he realized how great a dad I'd been. BAM. Brought me to tears just like that. So keep at it.
 
Edit to my above. Just re-listened, and the lead-in statement as he goes on to explain how he became an OB instructor is, and I quote, "My dad worked so hard to get me to be a dirtbag, and I didn't listen..." Sigh. So proud. :)
 
I guess I see it in a different light.
The Sacrifices, I have made not to go paddling , for less important things in Life.
Paddling restores me, from the trials of everyday life !
 
My 3 children are a year and a half apart (twins plus one). We got them involved in sports at an early age and we supported them by coaching baseball/softball, officiating at swim meets, and even running the refreshment stand thru 4 years of high school football.
In the early 90’s my home every night truck driving job of 20 years moved 100 miles away. I stayed with them and took an overnight run twice a week, weekends and Wednesdays off. The kicker was I had earned 5 weeks a year vacation by then, add 11 holidays, and I could finagle 7 weeks vacation each year.
I guess in my case I kept a real job to go canoeing.
 
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