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.
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.
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?
Reblogged this on The Sound of One Hand Clapping and commented:
Love this woman!
I think she’s pretty amazing!
Aren’t people extraordinary! Thank you for the introduction to her. It’s not a life I would choose – like so many others – but it’s always uplifting to witness people being true to themselves. I agree how wise it is to distinguish between contentment and happiness.
Sue does inspire one to be true to herself, in whatever life she chooses. I have learned a lot from her. xo
Wonderfully wise word. She must be quite a woman. She is to be admired for living the wisdom of her own words. I could not live that sort of life……I barely have confidence to get through each day…..
I know how you feel, Bonnie. She is quite a woman, isn’t she? xo
She’s wonderful! I love her! To be content with foxes for company… You know which one struck me the most this morning? The first one. Am learning contentment versus happiness. It’s been a long journey to embrace that one.
Yes, happiness v. contentment is definitely something I’ve pondered from time to time. I think Sue nailed it on the head. xo
Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said:
Well, in a way she is very calculating and of course aimed for fame and fortune by living this bizarre life in solitude at below zero!
Not quite what I would love, nor appreciate. Love nature and some percentage of adventure but not to this extreme!
Hugs to you and Happy Memorial Day.
I don’t think I would have the courage to live this way, though I do believe I would love it – at least for a bit of time. Who knows what one might discover by living alone with no human contact for months at a time. xo