Knowing When to Walk Away
“Better to walk away and live another day” A wise old man once said.
On the drive back to Maryland from Alaska this summer, I had to tighten the U-bolts on the rear end of the Tacoma. Then while on a deer hunt in Ohio this past October, I noticed the driver’s rear tire was not centered in the wheel well. Puzzling part was the passenger side was not offset in matching form to the driver’s side. My hunting partner in Ohio strongly suggested I not attempt to fix the truck so far from home, as it was driving “just fine” as it was.
A time comes when all things need fixing
I finally took on the task of wrenching the truck to assess the problem this past weekend. Or I guess I should say, “I tried”. Saturday afternoon, I intended to set the truck on jack stands, loosen the U-bolts on the rear, and loosen the spring shackles to see if I could adjust the rear into proper position.
At around 4:00 PM in the afternoon, about an hour before dark, I laid under the truck and pulled with all my might on the wrench. Slowly the truck began to lean and fall off the jack stands. I rolled clear of the truck and watched as it came down off the jack stands and landed on the gravel drive. Unhurt, I just sat there looking over the situation.
The fix was easy enough. All I needed to do was jack the truck using my Hi-lift jack on the side rock rails and re-set it on the jacks. But the project had been plagued with issues from the beginning. Nuts not easily breaking loose, jack stands pinching my fingers, nothing seemed to be going easy. And now this.
Knowing when to walk away and take a break is something not ease to admit
Knowing when to walk away and take a break is something not ease to admit. We keep pushing until the flustered situation turns into injury or worse. Maybe it takes age to realize this, or maybe it is just my hardheadedness that has taken me so long to learn this lesson. But darkness fell in Westminster on Saturday with my truck still sitting on the ground, broken.
A steady rain fell on Sunday. The truck sat unrepaired. Monday I had surgery and the truck will sit as is for two more weeks, before I will be able to resume the project. Not an ideal situation but I stand by the decision not to continue with the work and possibly making a bad situation worse.
Walking away is hard but the rewards can be greater
Interesting enough, I recently walked away from another type of situation that would have had nothing but a bad ending had I not walked away. Short version of the story goes like this. I attempted to buy my X-wife and her new boyfriend a beer at a local bar as a type of olive branch. They refused, and he put his hand on my shoulder as I walked away. Yes, I grumbled a not so nice name under my breath. He had fight in his eyes. I stood there knowing my military training would make short work of this hot shot.
I took the hand of my date, turned and walked away. Clint Eastwood or John Wayne would not have walked away you say? Maybe Rooster Cogburn or Dirty Harry would not have walked away, but they are movie characters and life is not like in the movies.
What does this all have to do with travel and adventure? About as much as travel and adventure has to do with life and life experiences. Our lives are about all we do, the good, the bad, the exciting, and the mundane. Life’s lessons come in all forms, and knowing when to walk away from a situation is an important life lesson I have recently come to appreciate.