I wish to remain upright and unbroken

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We’ve been having those conversations again. You know, those long talks during endless road hours about what we want to be when we grow up. Unfortunately, just making it to the realm of “adulthood” in chronological years doesn’t mean you can stop grinding for the future, and I would estimate very few humans achieve everything they desire in life by their early 20s. There’s a lot more to qualifying as a grown-up than making it to 21, I’m here to tell ya. Life evolves, things change, decisions have to be made. Adulting ain’t for the faint-hearted.

Caution: That’s gonna leave a mark.Caution: That’s gonna leave a mark.

Business is also an ever-evolving thing. You can plan all you want, but business, like life and trucking, requires modifications to the plan, and adaptation to changes you didn’t plan for. You can learn to swim with a different set of fins, or you can sink.

We’ve made business decisions recently that are big and scary to me, mostly because of the unfamiliar territory. I never in a million years thought we’d have a corporation and be starting the process of our own authority. The words “corporation” and “authority” sound really daunting. However, not daunting enough to ignore the need and benefits of the process and dive in head first. May as well, because I sure can’t dance. (Side note: I’m not sure if that’s a Southern saying, or just something my dad used to say to me when I was procrastinating – he used to tell me I should just go ahead and do whatever it was I didn’t want to do, because I sure couldn’t dance for a living. Not sure if he was remarking on my physical ability to remain upright, or the fact that he didn’t consider dancing a job. Anyway, it was either oddly prophetic or just a weird thing my dad used to say.)

So, speaking of remaining upright, the gist of all the long, road-weary conversations we have are goals, and those goals are to benefit ourselves and our family by making the best choices we can. We should also always take the extra time, no matter how tired, to wipe off the steps to the smoking porch when they have water on them, so I don’t break my damn neck and ruin everything.

I realize that was an odd segue, but I had an epiphany as I was sailing through the air towards the sliding glass door headfirst, and sharing it with you required the long, involved prequel about business and such. Bear with me while I tie this together.

We’re finally home, George has driven what seems like a gazillion miles, business is wrapped up and on the lawyer’s desk. We go to sit on the smoking porch to relax and love on the old dogs, who live on the porch, and have their water bowl out there. I take the bowl back up into the kitchen to fill it, spill a little water on the tile stairs on the way back down. I make a mental note to go back and clean it up, but I’m tired and don’t do it.

I even told George, “There’s water on the stairs, don’t slip.” I went back up the stairs, and avoided the water, to get the dogs their medicine and treats, and when I came back down the stairs, I realized, as I was sailing through the air headfirst toward the sliding glass door, with bits of ham and dog medicine floating Matrix-like around me, if I had gotten my lazy ass up and cleaned up the water in the first place, I wouldn’t be making an impromptu attempt at body-sailing on the smoking porch. This failure was my very own fault, and realizing it too late was going to hurt a lot.

The silence when I hit the ground was deafening. (This is also called being “knocked out,” but I’m a writer and have the need to make it more exciting than a concussion.) Thankfully, I’m carrying an extra 20 pounds and am not very aerodynamic, so my massive wind drag kept me from slamming fully into the sliding glass door. I’m pretty sure my elbow is made of titanium, because it didn’t shatter when it took the brunt of the fall. I hit the ground so hard, I laughed instead of cried. That’s called “being knocked stupid” for those not in the know.

I may or may not have inhaled a dose of dog medicine and I think I have a piece of ham permanently embedded in my rib cage, but I lived to tell the story.

The moral? No matter how tired you are, you have to get your butt up and clean up the messes, so the path to the porch is clear. Because you can’t dance for a living.

The Business Manual for Owner-Operators
Overdrive editors and ATBS present the industry’s best manual for prospective and committed owner-operators. You’ll find exceptional depth on many issues in the 2021 edition of Partners in Business.
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