Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Winter In The Heartland

It's snowing. The wind is blowing, and it's snowing sideways. I really don't like winter any more.

It wasn't that many years ago, I would have been rejoicing. I was an outdoors experience junkie. With those of us who are bipolar, we tend to obsess on activities, experiences, and thrill-seeking. For me it was outdoor recreation, mainly hunting and fishing. My hunting and fishing exploits and experiences would have made Ted Nugent jealous. Actually, I have hunted with Ted, but that's a different story. No condition was too extreme, or preparation too much work. Nothing exotic as I have never had an extra dime to my name, but if it was an outdoor experience possible in The Heartland, I've experienced it. I've had experiences millionaires couldn't BEGIN to buy. I've lugged many pounds of gear and decoys for miles in waders for the chance to shoot a duck. Carried treestands for miles for a chance to shoot a deer with my bow. Won MANY bass tournaments and many hundreds of dollars fishing, I could have made it as a professional if I'd dared to subject my family to that. Waded rivers for miles, swatting biting sand flies and burning to a crisp for a chance to catch a few catfish. Been ice fishing when it's been so cold you couldn't fish more than one hole as they'd freeze closed too quickly. Been in snow so heavy you could barely see the end of your gun barrel when it was at your shoulder. Been fishing at night when it was so dark you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. Been treed by wild dogs, stalked by mountain lions, followed by racoons and turkeys, fallen through ice, flooded waders and almost drowned, seen does nursing fawns from a few yards away, been outrun by a 3 legged coyote, been shot at, chased, and threatened. I've taken game and fish with bullets, shot, arrow, spear, and by hand. And virtually everything I've taken has been respectfully treated and consumed by my family. I tried very hard to beat the "Bubba" stereotype.

My outdoors experiences are mostly behind me now. I write about my experiences as the memories come back, but I have lost my desire to continue that lifestyle. Partly it is the failed business (the wife and I owned and ran an outdoors store for 10 years) that we sold for a huge loss 7 years ago. Make your hobby your business and it can cease to be a hobby. But mostly it was the realization of my bipolar condition. I know now how prone I am to obsessive behavior, and I'm scared to even dabble in those activities again. I lost jobs due to my obsessions, and my family suffered. Now I will say my older sons often joined me and have had experiences very few kids could dream about, but they don't seem to appreciate it. I think they'd have preferred to have me around, working in the yard, throwing a football to them. This is why, with our younger daughters, I feel I've been given a second chance. We had 3 boys, then seven years after our youngest boy we had a girl, then 3 years later, another girl. I work 2 jobs, but my free time belongs to my family today.

But the point of this post? Damn if I haven't forgotten by now. Oh yeah, the weather.

As soon as I post this I'm jumping out to our company's job postings and checking out the Jacksonville and Orlando positions. I'd move in a heartbeat these days. I really don't like snow and winter any more.