Over the past few weeks, a lot has happened in my life.

One day I'm as healthy as a horse and the next I'm lying in a hospital bed. There was no in-between, just a sudden rush of reality. Life is stressful, that's a fact that most people can agree with. It's a fast-paced world and I'm swept up in the insanity of it all.

For someone like myself who is always on the go, I found it difficult to slow down, but I knew that I needed to in order to regain the balance of my health and mental wellness.

However, I still found the pressure of becoming who I was once again, which is a good and a bad thing. I say bad, because my constant need to improve my fitness, social connectivity and work ethic is part of the reason I ended up in the ER to begin with.

Everybody needs an escape from their surroundings, an escape from their 9-5 jobs, an escape from the unknown reality that weighs us down like a two-ton blanket. Even myself, as fortunate as I am with a job that I love, an amazing family who I cherish and the best support system from my friends, I'm constantly searching for that escape to a place where I can shut everything off. A place that blocks out the buzz from society and allows me to breathe easy.

That place is right here on the SouthCoast and it's where I've found comfort for years: the Westport River.

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Each kayak launch is a saving grace, something similar to a battery recharge. It's the reasoning for my constant urge to paddle my worries away because the river brings me peace each and every time.

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When I'm on the Westport River, I'm happy and "at home." Over and over again, my mind goes to the same thought: When I finally leave this world, when I'm old and gray, I want my ashes to spread throughout and upon the Westport River.

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Now, I'm not trying to make this sound morbid, it's not like that at all. The river is more like my sanctuary and instead of having my soul in the afterlife (if you believe in that sort of thing) lying in a cemetery plot, I'd rather it be free as the current that flows back and forth from the ocean it connects to, just as my spirit connects with the nature of being outdoors.

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A place where I can leave everything behind and be remembered as the guy who escaped the noise of the world and found a peaceful silence from a river that flows through a small town like an artery that feeds life back into it.

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That's where I'd like to be placed, a long time from now when I pass on, but at least I'll be free from it all, on the Westport River.

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