First things first, I know for a fact that I have added a year to my life this this month. And with little, well no work. I was contacted by a friend who was reading my bio for You own it. Their message was simple, it said go back to the year you were born and count how many years old you are. So, I did and realised since my last birthday in March I have been quoting my age a year older than I actually am. I was left feeling confused with been happy for being a year young than I thought, but also feeling older for suffering from the memory loss for getting my age wrong to begin with. I am a “the cup is always half full or it is empty enough to top up with Jack Daniels “kind of guy so I took the path of “awesome I’m a year younger” emotionally which obviously feels great. I recommend anyone to have a 2-year birthday just for a feel-good time later in the year when you get to take it back.

I am also getting more consistent with all the new things I have adapted into my daily routine for life quality and longevity. The 2 weekly Rexercise sessions at the gym have involved revisiting my home weight programme, reassessing my current weights, and add some more. In doing this we noted a big change in my core strength. I am starting to develop some real core strength and stability instead of fixing my shoulders and using my head for balance when not having the comforts of a back support like I have been doing for years. Those are some good new skills which automatically plant good feelings. Also, the weights are getting heavier and the reputations are getting easier, signs that I’m getting stronger every day. With getting stronger daily tasks are also getting easier and most importantly taking less time. Paralysis from the chest down and taking a wheelchair everywhere means everything takes longer. Some days are a rush and running late with no short cuts to catch up to the clock again. Everything just consumes my time from the moment I wake up till the moment to go to sleep again. I am quite surprised just how much strength and discipline can add extra time to my day.

I recently purchased a shooting chair to make my hunting and rifle positioning a lot easier. The chair I brought was designed for able body full function shooters, it had arm rests but I was still to wobbly to successfully discharge a firearm when I sat in it for the first time, so I pulled it apart and modified it to suit my extra support needs. I didn’t have to do much I just swapped out the seat for a saddle type office chair seat. I also swapped the back support for a bigger more supporting one that I took off an old shower commode I no longer use. I have tested it with my rifle and now supports me enough to be the marksman I need to be to bag my game.

I enjoyed 3 quadbike rides in the last month also finding everything associated with riding my bike a lot easier. I strap my knees to my quadbike with a simple strap around my legs and under my seat. I still normally have some issues with sliding off the seat when I hit the speeds I want to be going to enjoy myself. I found this not to be so much a problem anymore, still happening occasionally but to as much as it used to. My big goal for my quadbike use is to be able to mount and dismount it from the ground and not just my wheelchair. I am a little way off been able to do it repeatedly as fatigue still gets me on this one but I can do it a couple of times a day so that’s a start.

I had an interesting experience one weekend while feeding out to my cows with my quadbike. This winter has been extremely wet and most of my grazing land is either mud or underwater. This particular day I loaded up my quadbike trailer with 100 litres of water and some extra bags of feed for my cows. As I got through the muddy swamp my bike stopped and wouldn’t start again. I knew straight away I should have filled it up with gas but was in a rush so here I was. So, my challenge for this afternoon was getting back to my house through 50 metres of swamp on a wheelchair will super skinny tyres, “better start now” … About halfway through the swamp I hit the wall. Thinking I could go no further but knowing I was getting about a foot every push I just kept going through that mud. A couple of times I did think of lying on my belly and driving through like a snake in the grass but never got to the point of having to go down that path. All in all a good lesson was learnt to not only have more than enough gas that is required for the job but always carry a cell phone on my person.

I am at an amazing point in in my journey right now with pain management under control without pharmaceutical intervention, which has always been important to me. My fitness programme making me want to get fitter and stronger. I’m living natural, preparing every day and am the best version of me I can be today. And tomorrow I will be an even better more advanced version of this.

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