Silver Linings Are Sometimes In a Ditch

This is a story about a band of thieves, an overworked entrepreneur, and silver linings in weird places.

I wasn’t sure how to start my first Medium article but that seemed like an enticing first line. The truth is this is a story about finding purpose or a sense of progress in what most would consider a setback. Before I get into the story, there is a bit of setup that is necessary for you to understand the importance of this chain of events that lead to a massive weight off my back and a release of impending anxiety.

That’s really the only reason you should read this.

If you’ve ever felt overworked, exhausted, and anxious to the max just to feel like there is no breaking point, then you should read this story and learn from it.

Here’s the TL;DR if you don’t want the setup: I work a lot, have two fast growing start up companies, and had some stuff stolen from me but thought I lost it or misplaced it due to early onset Alzheimer’s (does that exist?)

Four years ago I started a design firm with one of my best friends. It has grown exceptionally fast and in the past two years we developed a software product in-house that has now spun off into it’s own company, Lifeblood. In the past few months I have been absolutely pushing the threshold of my maximum capacity for work. With both companies, I have had constant long runs of intense thought processing that leaves me utterly exhausted and forgetful when getting home for the day. This has naturally lead me to find outlets to improve the way I feel and keep pushing harder than everyone else thinks I can.

The obvious thought is nutrition and exercise. I’ve been on a “body transformation” journey or whatever the hell you want to call it since January of this year. Meal prepping twice a week, working out constantly, hitting your macros in MyFitnessPal… All that Jazz. It’s a lot to add to the plate but the truth is the benefit is well worth the effort.

I feel better, look better, have more energy, all the things people say about working out and eating healthy turns out to be true. I’m still mentally strained though. What was the next step?

Searching for something else, I found rock climbing. Nothing has been more exhilarating than getting better at ascending these puzzles on the side of a wall. I started bouldering at a local gym in my small town where our start up businesses reside, but I often travel to St. Louis or Kansas City to get to some nicer gyms. Two weeks ago a friend took me climbing outside. He had a broken arm from a climbing trip in Colorado so he could only belay me on lead. I’ve top roped for a while now, but I got a quick lesson on lead climbing protocol and off I went. I sent three outdoor routes that had me absolutely terrified, but I didn’t fall. I officially had “the climbing bug”.

Nothing has made me feel so free of my own existence if even for just a moment.

My fiancé wanted to get belay certified at a gym in St. Louis so we made a weekend trip. When the weekend came I couldn’t find any of my gear. I frantically searched my house, my office, my house again, asked all my co-workers if my bags were in their car, checked with our video equipment at the agency to see if it got packed away…. It was nowhere to be found. Did I leave at the crag when I was climbing outside? I WAS DUMB-FOUNDED. Naturally this is the early alzheimer’s I was talking about. In the past few weeks I’ve locked my keys in my car 2 times, lost important documents, lost clothing, etc. I feel like I’ve been losing it but the truth is just that I’m stretched very thin.

Sooo… That was the set up. Here’s what happened today:

[Photo of crime scene]

I’m driving down the road on my way to my morning workout and I see a big pile of white dust on the side of the road thinking maybe some drywall from some construction got busted up. Then I see an empty blue bag of rock climbing chalk next to it. Just like my chalk. I stopped to investigate and ended up finding about half of my stolen stuff in a big mess.

It turns out that my bags were actually stolen out of my vehicle last Thursday the night before our trip by some hoodrats down the street in my neighborhood. And I mean that in an endearing way. I was a hoodrat as a kid doin’ hoodrat things. I respect a trap, but not when you carhop on the same block. Street respect is to go at least 3 blocks over to steal shit. Or so I thought.

I found about half of my belongings scattered on the side of the road and in a ditch down the road from my house exactly a week later. 30 or so of my business cards were scattered about with my stuff. It was clearly some kids dicking around with the stuff they stole but it really sucked for the week that I thought I was insane.

Here’s an inventory of what was taken and why it sucked.

The stuff that didn’t matter/ was retrieved:

-A camelbak backpack with mountain biking equipment

-Mountain bike tire tools and patches

-a tube for my mountain bike

-e cig batteries

-mountain bike shorts

-a t shirt

-a pair of climbing shoes I don’t like

-a recently purchased chalk bag my fiancé bought.

Stuff I lost:

-My recently broken in So Ill Runner climbing shoes. This one sucked because I actually had to buy two pair because the first pair was too small and then I finally broke them in when I climbed outside in them and started to love them. I was ready to send routes all over the country in these shoes, and they were stolen two days later. Now I have to find another pair of shoes to love and break in that just happen to be perfect for my weird feet.

My EA Games Under Armour Backpack — This was a backpack I earned as an intern for EA Games in College. I hosted countless video game release events and all I got in the end was copies of the latest sports games while interning and this backpack. It was a point of pride and a bit nostalgic for me to carry my climbing gear in this bag for some reason. I guess because no one could buy it on a shelf or online, I liked it a lot.

My peace of mind — Now I feel unsafe on my own street and feel the need to immediately install a security system outside.

Sanity (temporarily) — I swear I thought I was going crazy and had no clue this stuff was stolen and really thought I “misplaced” two huge backpacks full of all the most important stuff that I need to keep sane with by going climbing and mountain biking. I was mad at myself and mad at the world and it felt very unfair.

The silver lining: It could always be worse, and no one can keep you from climbing higher.

Last night before finding half of my missing gear I reluctantly went to the climbing gym for the first time since getting my gear stolen. I finished two routes I could not complete for anything in weeks past with some crappy old shoes with hardly any grip. A band of thieves down the block from me can’t keep me from finding my peace of mind. Things will slow down as we launch our software product and new people step up into leadership roles at the first company, The Evoke Group. I will keep climbing, and riding my mountain bike. I’m not insane, and I can keep pushing myself to live the life I want to in the end.

Lesson: Don’t let little bullshit in life keep you from seeing the bigger picture and doing whatever the fuck it is you want to do in life and whatever makes you happy.