Sue Aikens is a modern-day philosopher, and she is one of the main reasons I tune into National Geographic’s Life Below Zero without fail every week. The show is filmed in different parts of Alaska where ordinary Americans live extraordinary lives in circumstances that are far from banal.  Sue lives nine months a year in solitude at Kavik, a camp on the Arctic Circle.

Photo from Starpulse (linked)

Sue Aikens (from Starpulse)

Soon after the show aired a few years ago, I realized that I would not be able to watch this show without a pen and paper. Too many maxims rolled off Sue’s tongue – one after the other – and my rattled brain would be too stuffed to remember all that she had said in the span of an hour. So I began to write down her adages.

Sue Aikens (from NGC)

Sue Aikens (from NGC)

Though only a peek at Sue’s wisdom, I encourage you to read Sue’s words. She’s incredible!

  • Happiness is a brief burst of emotion, but to be content is to be comfortable in a style of life.
  • It’s kind of cool, the power of nature.
  • You can’t whine about what Mother Nature does. Mother Nature wins.
  • Nature is a destructive force, but it’s also one hell of a renewal.
  • I’m always good. Sometimes I’m even better.
  • I don’t live my life dwelling on the negative. I look for the next challenge.
  • There are only boundaries on myself when I set them.
  • When I chose to be out here, I chose to accept that I’m going to meet some really strange freaking end. But right up until the point when it does take me, I’m going to be here trying to eke out a living.
  • I absolutely think it’s detestable that somebody feels they have the right to come in and change my world without asking.
  • Survival just got a little bit tougher. It didn’t become impossible – you just made it difficult. And I like challenges.
  • Every day I have to wake up and look myself in the mirror, and if it’s not somebody I respect, it’s going to make the rest of my life suck.
  • There are no guarantees and I accept that, but life isn’t worth living if you don’t push a boundary or two.
  • I’m not out to get rich. I just want to be me.
  • I might be some bear’s dinner, but it’s an acceptable risk to achieve the lifestyle I want.
  • It’s not a pessimistic way of life. You’re not always thinking, “Doom and gloom, the world is going to fail me.” But you prepare for it. It’s being proactive.
  • The foxes are my social world. People are 350 miles away. The foxes are family to me. My favorite thing about the foxes is that they are willing to share the tundra with me. They are allowing me to experience what they are, what they can be. They are not just a fur coat. They’re friends.
  • It’s not a problem; it’s just a solution I haven’t found.
  • When you learn, you have choices.
  • There are no guarantees – implied or given – in a hunt. All I’m guaranteed is the opportunity to try.
  • The only thing you can count on with the weather is the fact that you can’t count on it.
  • To recognize the possibility of something bad happening is to be prepared for it.
  • If you have one foot in yesterday, one foot in tomorrow, you’re not living in today. Part of my footstep has to be in tomorrow so I can survive today.

What did I tell you? She lives the life she wants. Inspirational, yes, even if you want a different life?

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