If We Don’t Start, We’re Never Going to Win

In my garage sits a 1970 Chevelle my parents bought for me at the age of 14. Everyone said it would go by in a flash; time, that is, not the car. They saw my future in themselves but how could I have known to take it to heart. I’m turning 46 this year, have been married for 23 years and raised two kids. Like many kids I’ve seen recently I graduated high school not knowing what I wanted to do with my life so I took a job sweeping floors and delivering parts at my girlfriend’s (aka future wife) father’s business. This morphed into a 27-year career in sheet metal fabrication, culminating in a project management role for the last 20 years.

The Wonder

While I’ve always been within sight of the Cascades and would occasionally go hiking, snowboarding, and water skiing, it wasn’t until recently that I felt a shift of purpose to do something bigger. Last summer I took my son and daughter separately on three-day section hikes of the PCT. During these hikes we saw plenty of thru-hikers and managed to get in some great conversations when our campsites coincided. The wonder, sense of freedom, minimal living, physical challenges, and happiness furthered my desire to take on the whole PCT.

The Reflection

With the career plodding along and not providing a sense of accomplishment, having a successful marriage, and two kids gone who have their lives and heads on straight, my thoughts came back to that car I received so many years ago; 32 years in fact. Wow! I’ve always said that I would do a full restoration but no time ever seemed to be the right time. Our life events took on more immediate importance than that material thing. This is completely understandable; raising the family is priority.  However, now I can begin to reflect and see a new future or phase in my life. That phase does not include one day seeing my life in the way I see my teenage chariot; I am now that important thing.

The Awakening

Thus was born a decision to take a chance, change the doldrums, and however illogical it feels quit the career. With the support of my amazing wife I’ll head out on my PCT adventure. If you are reading this it may ring true, and you may have already made that course correction in your life after reflecting on times gone by. You may be that twentysomething seeking direction, in which case this was meant for your eyes. Take it to heart because time will pass quickly. Take care of your family, and put less stock in materialistic things in exchange for a thick photo book of life experience.

“If we don’t start, we’re never going to win.” John Schnabel

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Comments 3

  • John B. Waugaman, Jr. : Feb 17th

    Many a cars and ideas go untouched, but it is the ones we act upon that create the fond memories we all long for. The rebirth of the car would have forever been etched into your soul, but its picture never changed. You’ve moved beyond that chapter and created a classic in your family, now restore your latest find.

    Do the research, watch the diy videos, order the parts and do the work now. See what the project looks like in 3 days, 3 months, and 3 years from now. Just don’t have it in the garage without the scrapbook to go with it.

    Enjoy the journey and share the progress along with the journey. Congratulations on obtain your successes in life, just continue to strive for more. Hike on brother??‍♂️

    *A little bit older, but with a path much like yours. John

    • John B. Waugaman, Jr. : Feb 17th


    • Mike Sugden : Feb 18th

      Hi John thank you for commenting! I tend to want the whole project done sooner than later(This is the Career Project Manager in me) but I’m also a perfectionist too HAHA a little contradictory. Lets hope that my walk to Canada will slow me down in preparation to savor the restoration process :). Thank you for the motivation and I promise to strive for more!

      Take Care,


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