painfully perfect.

The 4th of July is a day that everyone looks forward to. We get to celebrate our freedom, cookout, go to the lake, wear a ridiculous amount of red ,white and blue, watch fireworks, and enjoy the time with our friends and family.

Good Man had the day off work (woohoo!) and we decided to take advantage of that. Thanks to his generous place of employment, we were able to borrow a kayak and paddle board for the day. The weather was beautiful, we packed a picnic, filled up the cooler, loaded up the boats, and were on our way!  It was going to be a perfect day.

Long story short, Good Man and I got to the lake only to realize that everyone had the same wonderful idea as us. We ended up having to park about a mile from the beach. Normally that wouldn’t be too bad, but don’t forget, we had a kayak, a 12 foot paddle board, 2 coolers, a backpack, 2 paddles, and 2 life vests. (Not to mention we had done a really intense workout at Crossfit the morning before and man was I feeling it.) Being the efficient person that I am, I was determined to take it all in one trip. Maybe I should rethink efficiency from now on.

Hardest. Walk. Of. My. Life. Good Man took the brute of it by carrying the paddle board under one arm, and carrying one end of the kayak with the other hand. (Yes, my husband is a stud.) We loaded the kayak up with all our goodies, I grabbed the front, and we were off. Well, I wouldn’t say we were off, but we did begin walking. After about 5 minutes, our forearms felt like they were tearing, and our fingers felt like they were going to rip off. We had to stop about every 20 feet or so. It was so heavy. So hard. Finally, about 30 minutes later we could see the water in the distance and we pushed through the pain and made it to the beach. I collapsed on the sand and Good Man ran straight to the water. We made it.

Once we caught our breath, we went right out on the lake, and instantly felt the reward of our hard work. All that struggle was completely worth it. Once we were paddling over the glassy water, sunshine on our backs, completely surrounded by beauty, we remembered the work it took to get there, and it made it that much better. Good Man then said something that made me think. “Anything worth getting is going to require hard work, Nicki, we are going to have to put in the work to get the reward.”  People say things similar to that all the time, but this time, after having to work so hard and being so thankful for the outcome, it really hit me.


We are made to work hard. If things were always easy for us, we wouldn’t appreciate them once we got them. Whether if is a fun outing, a job, a grade, a piece of art, or a relationship. Anything. Our purpose is to work. I do believe that in anything, if we work hard and give our all, we will see a reward, and it will be worth what it took to get there. Sometimes the reward may not be a perfect day on the lake, or the job we have been hoping for, but it may be a lesson learned, or an experience gained. A lot of times we are going to feel like we can’t possibly keep going. I literally thought my body physically couldn’t hold that rope a minute longer. But it did. And I didn’t quit. Don’t quit. It is an all too easy solution, and a sad solution, because then you did some of the work without anything to gain from it.

All of that to say this. Don’t give up. Don’t give up on your dreams. Don’t give up on your relationships. Don’t give up on your body. Don’t give up on your goals. And don’t give up on yourself. There is something to gain from everything hard you push yourself to get through. It may not always be what we expect or think we want it to be, but it is always what we need it to be.

So all in all, I would say that it did end up being the perfect day. Time to put in the effort for more painfully perfect days.


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  • Reply Betty-Jane Galloway

    You are wise beyond your years, little girl.

    July 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm
  • Reply Shannon

    Thank you for sharing this, Nicki (glad your sis shared a link on Facebook). It was something I really needed today, after being discouraged with the infamous job hunt post-college.

    July 11, 2014 at 10:33 am
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