Living By Example

Val Joiner

Fill Your Bucket


By most people’s estimation, I live a full life. They’re right. And there’s a reason for that.

It’s my highest priority.

My life is the way it is because of the choices I’ve made, not because I’m unusually lucky. Bear in mind, my life hasn’t always been what it is today, but I made the changes necessary for it to be what I wanted. Even though I’ve restructured my life, it still takes diligence and tenacity to maintain it. That’s especially important right now because my efforts mean I have a full bucket to tap into.

Although I live what most people would consider a charmed life, things still go wrong in my world. While out riding my motorcycle on January 25th, I was hit by a car. The driver didn’t see me. I was not reckless. I’m professionally trained. In fact, I continuously train. I’m a defensive rider. I was wearing full, armored, hi-viz protective gear. I took every reasonable precaution.

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In spite of that, I was criticized for taking unreasonable risks and being irresponsible for not considering my children in the pursuit of something I love. I beg to differ. I entirely consider my children in the choices I make, I simply don’t use the same criteria that rule my critics’ lives.

The specter of a child losing a parent is certainly heartbreaking, but what I would hate for my children to live with is the knowledge that I was holding back because of them; living a half-life out of fear. That, to me, is the greater disservice. I want to show my children how to live smart, but full, lives, to manage and assess risk, and not be controlled by other’s expectations.

To do that, I have to lead by example.

Even though I face months of rehabilitation to walk again, I will return to motorcycling when I’m able. I will hike again, resume practicing yoga, get back behind the camera, return to traveling… all of the things that fill my life with joy and purpose outside of being a mother to my two sons.

The advantage to consciously crafting my lifestyle is that my bucket was full on that unfortunate day. During the recovery process, I am drinking from that bucket to carry me through to when I can refill it with the things I love. I hope in the process I will show my sons how to overcome obstacles, the importance of living purposefully, and how to pursue their passions unapologetically.

Most importantly, I hope they understand the value of keeping their own buckets full because we don’t get advance warning for the times we’ll need every drop to recover from a setback.

In Her Own Words Chip



One of the best gifts we can give our kids is living by example.

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This post was written by Val Joiner exclusively for BonBon Break Media, LLC.

Val Joiner is a former geologist turned adventure travel enthusiast. Her adventures can be car or motorcycle-based but they always involve camping, hiking, geocaching, photography, and learning from every experience. She chronicles her travels at Val in Real Life and whether solo or with her two sons, hopes her adventures will inspire others to travel and discover all of the rich possibilities the world has to offer.Val