I Hate This Stupid Ice Cream Cone - Jeff Riggins Photography

I HATE THIS STUPID ICE CREAM CONE!! Relax! It's only like 4,500 words! I get people asking me all the time, “How can you be so positive every day.” Now, that’s not always true. I get mad. I get frustrated. There are things that absolutely set me off. I have an itty bit of a temper at times. I live with guilt. I have regret. I’ve felt pain and heartache. I’ve had cards not fall my way and life is definitely not where I would have imagined it to be. With that said, I am smiling nearly 99% of the time. I say hi to everyone and wish them a great day. I’m loving life and happy to be on the top-side of the dirt each and every morning. I am truly blessed! I’m no different than most. As I’ve written before, I’m just about average in every aspect in life. I’ve been good at almost everything, but never great at anything! I’d say that’s why I’m able to relate to almost anyone. “How are you so positive all of the time?” hmm, let’s see. This would be my effort to explain why. It’s a slice of what I’ve learned in 38 years of trial and error. To keep this brief, is not going to be easy. In fact, I won’t even try. If it’s a little too long, well then, you can just go on about your happy day lil princess. This is a topic I could write about in “book-length”. There’s no Google being used here. I’m not Youtube’ing an answer. I can’t cite anything or back my ideas up with some Harvard education. It’s just some thoughts from the big noggin of an ole dumb hillbilly and nothing more.

LIVE LIFE EARLY. Go to bed early. Get up early! Get where you are supposed to be, early. Get that project done early. Some of you may stop reading now. You’re thinking “I’m out”. I like my sleep too much. Well that’s okay. Sleep away punkin. I’m not stopping you, but there is so much life to be missed by sleeping in too late. I wake up at 5am every single day. Weekends or weekdays, it doesn’t matter. I’m not bragging. It’s just part of what makes me happy. Start each day early and if you get a chance to watch the sunrise, don’t miss it. A cup of coffee watching the sunrise is peace to me. I have been there in life where I hit snooze over and over only to wake up late and rush to work each day. I’ve done that in my younger years. Most of what I write about are things I’ve learned along my journey. This is no different. Rushing around is not a way to start the day. It adds so much stress to life when you’re rushing around. Build the habit of waking up early and enjoying those moments of peace as the rest of the world awakens. If you can enjoy it outdoors, then even better. I’ve stayed up super late, only to feel like crap the next day. Don’t do that. There’s not much good happening after a certain time of night. I know this because I’ve patrolled the late night for many years. Get to bed early. You know when you need to be somewhere. Get there early. If you have an appointment at 2pm, you already know it. Get ready. Get there early. Show up ten minutes early somewhere or ten minutes late and see which one gives you the bigger smile. Life is less stressful when you’re not rushing. Did I just hear an excuse? If you just said a “well” or a “but” to yourself, then suck it up buttercup. That’s nothing but an excuse and I don’t like it! Live life early. That leads me to…

STOP WITH THE DAMN EXCUSES. Did you know it’s a proven fact by the Riggins’ Hillbilly Institute, that the maximum effective range of an excuse is 0 meters? For those that don’t get it, I’m saying an excuse gets you nowhere. I don’t care what it is. You think you can’t exercise because you’re too busy? What were you doing on the couch for 20 minutes eating Pringles? Don’t workout. That’s fine, but recognize that it’s an excuse! Can’t get a job? Bull crap! Maybe you can’t get a job that meets your unreasonable level of expectations for your skill set. Whatever it is you say you’d like to do, but can’t, remember this, there are people doing that very thing with no arms, no legs, disabilities beyond yours, blind, deaf, and with less tools than you have. Look at all the inspirational wounded warriors who are moving mountains with half their bodies blown off. Now, what was your excuse? I thought so. It’s an excuse! Get over whatever you think it is and suck it the hell up powder puff! If you’re lazy then say it’s because you’re lazy and own it. Have I made you mad yet? As mad as you want to be, you know it’s true. Stop making excuses for whatever it is. Did I hear a “well” or “but”? I didn’t think so!

GET OUTSIDE. You don’t have to hunt to enjoy the outdoors. Go for a walk. Sit on a park bench. Enjoy some fresh air. Smell the smells and see the sees. See the sees? I never claimed to be intelligent my friends! Stop and look around at all of those little things in life like my grandpa did. Look at how much personality that bird has. Listen to the sounds of the great outdoors. Hunting, outdoors, and now photography has helped me see the beauty in some of the little things. Just breathe! It will relieve stress and help you get in touch with who you are as a person. Here’s a big one! Do not let the weather determine your plans and here’s why. If you read nothing else, read the rest of this paragraph. It’s winter time. The first warm day we get this spring, you will be so happy. You make your plans only to find out that there’s going to be a very strong south wind blowing like crazy! It’s that way every year. Most of the spring will be made up of some rain and wind. Well, it’s too windy to go fishing. Okay then, fly a kite instead! The summer, well, that’s just too hot. Fall is great but man that’s a chill in the air. Winter time, who wants to be outside for that. The weather channel predicts rain so you cancel your plans only to see that it never rains. Screw a bunch of that bull crap! Just do it! Make plans. Get outside. Dress for the weather. Don’t wish it was cooler, warmer, less windy, not raining, etc. Think of how many days you are wasting in life by doing that. I’m going to say it again! Look at your life and think of how many days you will waste if you need that perfect weather! Stop it! It’s snowing today. Is it a great day to ride the motorcycle? No. Those days will come. What is TODAY good for? A bunch of awesome living that’s what it’s good for. Take them as they come! Just embrace the God given day you have TODAY! That brings me to a great point!

DON’T LIVE FOR THE WEEKEND. Keep reading! Ya’ll don’t know half of what goes on in my head! Man I hate Mondays. Is it only Tuesday. Wednesday was such a long day. Thursday was stressful. Come on… 5 o’clock Friday! Now it’s back to Monday. What the crap?!? Wait, I didn’t mention Saturday and Sunday. Why is that, you ask? Because it was gone in a FREAKIN FLASH buttercup! What are you thinking? Don’t be stupid! This is one of my biggest pieces of advice from me to you, so listen up! Enjoy each and every day! I’m going deep on this one. Do you know that one day, you will wish for, one more day? Pause and reread that last sentence. Think about it! You will wish for one more day. I promise you that. You will wish for one more day with the kids. One more day with grandma and grandpa. One more day when you were healthy. One more day when you had your youth. Think deep on this one… TODAY is that day! Today IS that day! It is! It doesn’t matter whether it’s Monday or Sunday. It’s a day given to you in this world. There are 5 weekdays every week and only 2 weekend days. How much life are you giving up if you are counting down each week for those two days? Uh..laht!!! That’s how many! So how about work? Most folks are working 8 hr days. Wish those 8 hrs to go by fast all you want to, but where does that leave you? Wasting away 1/3 of your life away. For those that missed it.. There are 24 hours in a day, you wish away 8 of those, what’s that leave you with? .17 that’s what! Just kiddin. You’re wishing 1/3 of your life away punkin! Find a way to enjoy being at work! Don’t like your job? Find a different one and quit! Doesn’t sound that simple? Remind me again what the maximum effective range is of an excuse? Exactly! At the end of your life and you look at the 40 years or so you put into a place that made you miserable, was it worth it? If you had it to do over again, would you have? Yeah, I thought so too. How many lives do you get to live on this earth? Exactly! Make all of the safe decisions you want about whatever job you have. Spend your one and only life at a job you hate if you want to. It’s 1/3 of your life give or take. I’m not telling everyone to run out and quit their jobs. Just know that this is the ONE life you get. That’s all! Don’t wait on retirement to start living the way you want to. You might never make it there! Don’t like my way of thinking, or think well, it isn’t that simple? Okay, enjoy the benefits of your excuse and see how that works out for ya sweet cheeks! Wish the time away if you want, but I’m not! Screw that ya’ll! Ima gonna enjoy each one of those days like it’s my last! Enjoy each day. At the end of your life, you would gladly have one more day regardless of when it is. I’d take a day back with my grandpa any day of the week. I’d call in sick to work for a day to spend with him, because it would be that important. So why isn’t it right now? You have to see that it is! Do you know that with parents passing away or some major tragedy in life, it will most likely be a phone call or a knock at the door that will change your world? It will be. I’ve delivered many, many death notifications. I’ve told a wife her husband died shortly after he left their house, then I’ve watched her pass out and hit the floor. Do you think she knew waking up that day that she would get that news? No way! I’ve delivered that message too many times. I’ve done CPR for twenty minutes on a 12 year-old boy with a fatal gunshot wound to the chest while his parents stood right beside me crying! Do you think they would want one day back? Do you think you will wake up and think, I’m going to get a call about tragedy that is going to change my life forever? Maybe you go to a routine doctor appointment and get some bad news. I’m not trying to scare you. I’ve just seen how fragile life is. Remember, I’m telling you why I smile every day in hopes that it helps you do the same. Illnesses, deaths, car crashes, and tragedy is a phone call or a knock away. Enjoy your damn day! So what if it’s Monday. Live it up brothers and sisters! In 14 years law enforcement, I’ve seen the bad in the blink of an eye. I’ve seen it over and over and over again! Maybe that’s in part why I smile.

LIVE LIFE “INTERNALLY”. If you’re still reading this, then thank you. I may just be helping someone out and that makes me happy. If you’ve read this much, I’d like to know it. Simply comment with the number 5 ;) This is for everyone, but especially the young ones out there. Live your life “internally”. Find peace, happiness, and confidence within yourself. Internally. Don’t let it be dependent upon the actions of others. Don’t let your day be ruined by someone who is unhappy. Don’t let your beauty be determined by the number of likes you get on social media. You are beautiful! Your “coolness” isn’t determined by whether others are hanging out with you. Here’s a big one. Don’t take this the wrong way. I am very anti-bullying. With that said, understand that you will never fix the bullies in the world. They are there in childhood, the workplace, and society in general. We spend so much time trying to stop the bully that is picking on our children or us as adults. By doing this, we go from one bully to the next because they are everywhere. Trying to fix the bully is temporary. There will always be another in some shape or form. Instead, let’s teach our children to stand up for themselves. If we teach them to be confident and live internally, then we never have to worry about any bullies of the world. Let’s teach our children to have the confidence within themselves. Let’s give them the power to live life “internally”. It doesn’t matter what the bullies in life say. Our happiness isn’t determined by them. WE determine our happiness. We can’t change the bully, but we can certainly change how they affect us! Be confident and happy in being your own person. I am one helluva stud muffin and I don’t care what ya’ll think! I know I am because I live life “internally”.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO FAIL. If you are going through tough times, listen up! If you are wondering when it will stop, it will! If you are thinking you can’t take much more, you can! I’ve been there! Man o man… I have fell so flat on my face many times that my nose is crooked! I’m not an overly religious person, but I believe this. Your life is already written. God has a plan. Stress all you want to about something, but you’re wasting your time. Live life making the best decisions you can. Follow your heart. That’s all you can do. I’ve made some extremely risky decisions in my life. I’ve fell. I’ve made so many mistakes, I’m probably getting about a D- on certain areas in the Life subject. One thing I can tell you for sure. I’ve never learned a damn thing or grown a single ounce when things were great! I’ve learned everything in life and done all of my growing as a person, through my mistakes and failure. It’s true! I would not be writing this or be who I am had it not been for all of the screwed up things I’ve done in life. Whatever you’re going through as a person, know that there is a reason. I look back on some things in life and while at the time, I may not understand why, I can say I see it now. Not yet on everything, but many things in my past, I understand why. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on things. I’ve not regretted many of my chances, but I sure have regretted the chances I didn’t take. That’s a known quote, but so true. With many of you, there’s something you have hidden inside of you that is a chance you never took. You’re still wondering what if. Don’t live that way. Now, use common sense here cupcake! Don’t think man, “Hold my beer. What’ll happen if I jump off this here ledge?” Don’t be an idiot! But, don’t be afraid to take a chance. You’ll regret not doing so. “Success” is defined differently for everyone, but ask any successful person in life. I guarantee you they have taken chances. Sometimes it worked out great, other times, not so much. Worst case scenario, you learned and grew as a person. Speaking of success…

MONEY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT! True statement and I don’t care what you say about it. I don’t make much money at all! I’m probably making less than 80% of those reading this. No joke! I’m not poor! I do great, or at least I feel like I do. If I want something, I get it one way or another. My kids have all they need. It’s nothing to do with the dollar amount on your paycheck, but more about how you live your life. Live within your means. Think of it as a ratio. You can enjoy life and live it up making 30k a year if you live within that. You can also make 100k a year and be broke! I’ll read your mind for a minute. You’re thinking I don’t need to be rich, I just think an extra 10k or so a year and I’d be set. Man I just want to make enough to be comfortable. Does that sound familiar? I know it did. I’m a mind reader. Live within whatever you make and you will be rich! Too many people get a raise and then boom they raise their way of living. Hit the lottery! Boom, you increase the way of living! If you’re poor now, then you will be poor with more money. Live within your means. Looking back on life, I felt like I had the most money when I was 14 and made 2.00 an hour at Jerry’s Dairy Freezer. I got a quarter raise each week and topped out at a whopping 3.00 an hour. I was rich! I didn’t have bills. When you make more money, you make more bills. Don’t do that. I know people who make a ton of money, but are not happy at all in life. They are constantly trying to climb the ladder higher and higher adding more stress every day. Stress. No time for anything else. Been there! You either have a bunch of money, but no time to spend it, or you have all the time in the world, but no money to spend. Live within your means and you will be rich! It’s not even the “money” that you’re after. That piece of white paper with green ink means nothing. You’re after something that you think you can get with that piece of paper. So think deeper! What is it you’re actually after, because it’s not “money”. Seriously, what is it that you want. Because it’s not the inked paper! Is it time? Is it a new house? For a lot of people, it’s time. If you constantly chase that dollar, you are going in reverse my friend! How frustrating is that? I wish I had more money so I had more time to do the things I want. To try and get there, you work your butt off chasing your tail only to realize you know have no time! I’ve been there. I’ve worked a crazy amount of hours in my life. I’ve always had many, many, jobs. I’ve chased my tail in doing so! Over the last little while, I’m finally learning how to live and I couldn’t be more excited to see how the rest of my life goes. You can be right there too. Find this little concept out sooner than later, don’t take too long like I did.

DON’T WASTE TOO MUCH TIME BEING TOUGH. This is mostly to those young, testosterone-filled males out there. I’ve been there! I used a quote in a speech I gave awhile back. I don’t recall who said it, but here it is. “Maybe it isn’t about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about unbecoming everything, so you can be who you were really meant to be in the first place.” Now, I may be the only person in the world that this hits in the kisser. It hit me hard because of where I’ve been in life. Now, I’m still testosterone filled and tough, so don’t get any ideas or I’ll jack your face sideways, but… I wasted so many years being tough. As a kid, I was goofy, funny, and laughed all the time. Somewhere along the line and for some reason, during my teens, man did I get tough! I see it every day at the school. Young men walking around with their chests all puffy. They won’t be who they really are because they can’t lose that tough guy persona. Over the years, I’ve grown as a person. I’ve developed confidence in knowing how tough I really am and could care less how it shows on the outside. Reread the quote if you need to, but I have unbecome everything and am becoming who I was meant to be in the first place. I wish I would have learned this earlier in life. I wish I could tell every young man out there to be who you really are. Be who you were meant to be. That way you don’t waste any precious years being who you are not.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. To the women out there. You are beautiful. As a man, an average man, I can tell you that confidence is sexy and attractive. You are beautiful. You are someone’s beautiful daughter. You are precious. I don’t care if you’re 25 or 65, you are gorgeous. Have confidence in knowing that. There’s a video out there of a little girl standing in front of a mirror in the morning telling herself how beautiful and amazing she is. Do that! Don’t let a magazine cover be your idea of beauty. Those images are Photoshop created, blemish removed, smoothed over anyways! Be your own beautiful. If you are confident, you will be oozing with awesomeness! Believe me on that. If you’re a guy, I’m not going to say you’re beautiful. You know… because I’m still a tough guy, but you’re a stud! Be confident in that. Refer to living “internally”.

READ MORE BOOKS. I am a big believer in personal growth. I’m not big into fictional books. I’m more of a “learn something” sort of book reader, but books are books! Pick one up, find a quiet place and read away. The other day I saw Mckenzie reading a Nicholas Sparks book. I stopped for just a second and my heart filled with warm fuzzies. I thought, man if kids would do more reading like that and less on social media, how different would they be. That was a proud daddy moment. Reading will help reset the mind. Read away!

EAT A STUPID ICE CREAM CONE. Find things in life that make you happy. Spend more time doing those things or being with those people and you will live a happier life. Have you ever tried to be absolutely mad while eating an ice cream cone? You can’t do it. Your brain has been conditioned since childhood that ice cream equals happy. Lick an ice cream cone and call it stupid. See how that works out for ya bub. So, if that makes you happy, then eat more of them. It doesn’t have to be ice cream. The point is that you surround yourself with things or people that make you as happy as eating an ice cream cone. If you do this, it sure makes it tough to be mad. What are the things in life that make you happy? Reading, writing, your kids, hunting, etc. When life is getting you down or you feel a crazy amount of stress, then eat whatever your “ice cream cone” may be.

I could go on forever. If I wanted to keep typing, I’d write about how you should hang out with old people. Watch less of the national news channels. Spend some time away from the damn cell phone, like not even have it around you. The list goes on! Maybe this is the topic I should write a book about. You may be the only person still reading this. That was a lot for sure. Part of me feeling happy all the time is that I’ve never felt like I would live forever. I feel like I’m running out of time. I feel like life will be over before I do all it is I was meant to do. That’s a crazy feeling that keeps you motivated. I also haven’t found out exactly what I’m supposed to do in life. I feel like I’m here to reach more people. I’m not sure if it’s writing books, giving speeches, or what it is. I think I’m supposed to impact a million lives in ways that change them for the better. Not because I’m better than anyone, but I feel like I’m supposed to help others. I just haven’t figured out how yet. So, until then, I’ll pour out whatever is in my head and heart through my words. Have a great day and be happy! That’s just a whole bunch of snippets from the big noggin of an ole dumb hillbilly!

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