My childhood was as normal as any other middle class American kid. What I didn't realize as a child was how hard my parents secretly worked. They both had entry level blue collar jobs, putting in well over forty hours a week just to keep food on the table and gas in the cars. Don't get me wrong there was always food on the table and mom always had my two brothers and I to hockey or soccer practice on time. As a kid my biggest worry was finishing my homework as quickly as possible so I could ride my bike or build a fort. Life was easy for me, and the sacrifices my parent made to provide that were amazing.
It wasn't until I was fourteen when life hit me like a grand piano. It was Valentines Day when I learned to live life to the fullest and to never take it for granted. I watched my dad give my mom a Valentine and a kiss, before we rushed out the door, so dad could get us to school on time. "Bye dad!" I said as I turned my back and walked to class. That was the last time I would say that. My Dad spent his whole life working as hard as he could to provide the best life a kid could ask for and he did a good job at it too.
After my dad was killed in a car accident, I knew I had to live every day as my last. Living life to the fullest was and is my focus ever since that day. In a way I believe that my life has become even better since then, with the realization that life could end as soon as tomorrow.
Every day I wake up excited to live, excited to play and excited to share this beautiful world with others. It didn't take much searching for me to find a way to fulfill my need to live life to the fullest. The hard work and big fun of rafting has made it simple to share my passion for life with others while having as much fun as possible everyday. The river has filled that important void and it is for that reason, my love for life and the river continue to grow. The tragedy of my dads passing has forever shaped my life and my attitude. I will continue to live with a exquisite work ethic but will always play first. Every day is a gift, get up early and stay up late. Thanks dad!
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