by Amy Brandfass
Don’t go outside without shoes, be careful if you are playing kickball with the boys, don’t climb the 40 foot pine tree. All the different things I heard as a young child growing up as I know my parents loved me and wanted to keep me safe. I on the other hand wanted to adventure and try new things, and well quite frankly, I wanted to enjoy the feeling of mud on my feet after a good hard rain. Also as a child, I dreamed of things like having a pink monster truck or something that could be just as tough with a touch of girly style. Through my teenage years I explored the local creek with my friends a lot. I still had no vehicle to go along with the creek adventures. As I neared the end of high school I learned I had to do some growing up. Sometimes you have to put on your shoes and get down to business.
The reality of responsibilities set in and figuring out the grand adult question “What to do want to do when you grow up?” started to ring true in my mind. I hit the working world post-graduation from high school and skipped the full college experience. I had no room in my life for debt with school loans, so I also took some classes at the local college. My travel mechanism to school? It was public transportation via the RITA bus which was not my tough mud splashing wheels but it worked. After taking some classes and figuring out I did not want to be a starving artist I realized I had to change gears again. What was I going to do? I had no idea. Next steps? Off to the hard core full time working world I went with my soft-top KIA Sportage, in essence sans mudding vehicle.
After a good decade passed I figured out sitting inside all day working on computers is fruitful and exhausting. Doesn’t sound like it would be, I mean if you are sitting inside in the air conditioning or maybe the heat and typing away on the keyboard, how exhausting can it be. Well, there is a lot going on with the effort of putting the brain power towards critical thinking, analyzing impacts, learning how to work with people of all sorts all in effort to either write code for programs or write documentation to make changes to the code for programs. Something needed to change again, I was growing in many ways but losing ground on my dreams.
Another fact I had to take into consideration, working inside all day also means it is working time and not family time. While I was living the 9 to 5 work life in the previously mentioned decade I did find the love of my life. Once I was married, and we had a child I decided to go back to school. Shoot, why not go back to school, adults go back to school all the time so I can too! I may not have been adventuring off-road but I was now grabbing life by the ponytail and starting to lead the way towards the dreams. Going back to school was a balancing act of living. While I was working, being mom, and completing the CAPS program for college, my husband was supporting me and helping me through it all. After graduating with my Associates in Computer Science, my awesome husband bought me my first Jeep Wrangler! I was beyond excited. So many of my dreams were coming true and this was the cherry on top, well it was actually an orange Jeep not really cherry. The hard work and time I was putting in was starting to pay off.
Life did not change too much after graduating, it was and is more a growing phase in my life. I grew in my efforts of off-roading, I traded in my orange 1995 Jeep Wrangler, and my car, for my black 2012 Jeep Wrangler. I grew in my faith, I found salvation. I built upon my work life, by business day I am Mom, Wife, and the Manager of the Requirements and Release team within the Clinical Department of a Prescription Benefit Manager company. By evenings and weekends I am still Mom, and Wife, but I am also with family as much as possible. This includes the cool Jeep family. I developed some really great relationships, such as my close friends Stacey and Jeff Geib who are both off-roading enthusiasts. I wouldn’t trade the world for my family all around.
I still love to be a part the outside world as well. Regardless if it is a hike in the area as I live near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) in Ohio or off-roading. The CVNP is where my very close friend Christina and I like to hike and adventure, and sometimes we go to the local neighborhood sidewalks. Another outside event I have grown to enjoy over the past two years is going off-roading at Southing Off-road Park (SOR) with my family (by blood and by Jeep). Lately, we have been taking the camper with us to SOR and spending extra time together all around which makes me super happy. We have plans to do more camping and more off-roading in the future as well.
Sometimes you have to keep working at it before the hard ground becomes mud, and with some prayers, dreams can come true. So what I have learned from my story so far is when you are done working, take your shoes off, stick your feet in the mud, let the sunshine warm upon your face, and enjoy life!
Posted by: Dulcy Rojas