I’m Fine, Thanks — Are You Really?

I'm Fine Thanks Live Your DreamEarlier this year, I had the opportunity to share my story of unwrapping my passion for barefoot water skiing after abandoning it for two decades. It was for a movie, I’m Fine, Thanks.

Heck, I didn’t know Grant Peelle, the director, or Adam Baker, the guy behind Man vs. Debt when this opportunity first presented itself, but my intuition said, “Say yes.”  The movie would include interviews with Pat Flynn, Chris Guillebeau and Jonathan Fields–guys who were well known in the social media/blogging arena. So the crew was set to come to Chicago in early April.

But there was one problem: I had ACL reconstruction surgery in December and I wasn’t cleared to ski. The doc said, “No way. Absolutely not.” My custom-made brace wasn’t ready.

The next day, I posted a request on Facebook to borrow a brace. The flurry of responses I received were not pleasant. My dearest friends had decided I lost my mind. I was not cleared to ski, the graft was at its weakest point, and I was planning to borrow a brace that wasn’t even made for me.  I received some texts, emails and messages basically telling me how stupid I was for even thinking about barefooting on a newly-reconstructed-still-healing ACL.

I told the film crew about the situation and thought we’d have to drop it. But something deep down kept gnawing at me. My intuition was still telling me, “Do this.”

So I prayed for a sign. I needed the reassurance I was doing the right thing. The gut feeling was so strong, I could not ignore it.

Sure enough, I found my sign. Moments later, I opened the door to the garage and saw my hip-to-the-ankle hospital brace lying there. I had placed the brace on the garbage heap several times but my husband and kids had never hauled it out to the curb on garbage day. It sat in the garage for two solid months.

That’s my sign!

Adam gets ready for the interview

So that’s how five guys landed on my doorstep on Tuesday morning on the last leg of their U.S and Canada trip covering nearly 15,000 miles of terrain.  Besides Grant and Adam, the crew included  Bryan Olinger (cameraman), John Cropper (cameraman) and Dustin Koester (production assistant).

Kevin O’Connell (boat driver), John and Grant

It was a blast working with the Crank Tank crew–five great guys! They filmed the interview in my living room and the next day, we took off for the Fox River in St. Charles and met up with my footin’ buddies, Kevin O’Connell and Tom Hart. I slapped on the huge brace, crawled out on the boom and did two runs down the river. It was a beautiful, cold spring day. The crew also captured Tom and Kevin on the water, but that footage didn’t make it in the movie.

Both Grant and Bryan did some barefooting for the first time. Oh wait, let me say this: Grant did some spectacular faceplanting that day.The poor guy was sore for days afterwards.

Bryan barefooting for the first time

This is gonna hurt!

Adam wrote about their journey here:

The Making of I’m Fine Thanks, Part One

The Making of I’m Fine, Thanks, Part Two

Well, the day is finally here– the movie is out!  You can order the DVD or download the digital version (yes, it is captioned) here:

I’m Fine, Thanks –The Movie

I’ve watched the movie twice so far and plan to watch it again and again.  If you’re living a life of mediocrity and complacency, the movie is a great wake-up call. Shape your life so the next time someone asks how you are, you can say, “I’m more than fine, I’m $%&* awesome!

Grant sums up the movie so perfectly at the end:

“If I learned one thing on this road trip is that there is no script. Life isn’t about which job you take– it’s about chasing your passions and holding on to them through the ups and downs.”

I’m giving away a DVD of the movie randomly to one person who leaves a comment by midnight, November 12, 2012. Tell me what kind of answer you’d give if someone asked about your life today.

The crew gets ready to film.

Tom gives Grant a barefooting lesson




11 replies
  1. Glenda Watson Hyatt
    Glenda Watson Hyatt says:

    My life today? After fourteen years of (minimal) work as a web accessibility consulting and not getting very far – and my last project totally killed any remnants of passion I had for the topic – I am walking away. I am now heading down the road less travelled, which is both terrifying and exciting, and brings me to tears just thinking about it. Excited, passion-over flowing tears.

    What is this road I am on? To becoming a motivational speaker.

    Why is it less travelled? Because I have a significant speech impairment, which very few people understand. I have even been labelled as non-verbal by medical professionals. Despite all of that, I am being lured down this road and I can no longer ignore it.

  2. Mom
    Mom says:

    You are such an inspiration — as a person and as a Mother! I can’t wait to watch the movie – Thanks! On my life — it is a middle chapter that is not a summary of where I have been or where I am going, but a beautiful place you stop at, be a part of, and catch your breath before moving onto the next summit!

  3. Lori
    Lori says:

    Karen continues to inspire! Reaching for the stars and encouraging others to do the same. My life at the moment is more than fine. I’m doing what I want to do and enjoying my life! Carpe Diem!

  4. Rachel Blythe
    Rachel Blythe says:

    My husband and I are living our dream now-we quit our jobs and sold our house. Now we’re traveling in our Airstream and have not looked back since then.

  5. Meghan Vozzolo
    Meghan Vozzolo says:

    I’m in absolute AWWWE of your accomplishments thus far, Karen! My life right now…..So incredibly blessed with the chaos and joy of 3 gorgeous children and 1 gorgeous husband! I embrace the challenges I face daily and try so very hard to bask in the love surrounding us!

    I am humbled and honored to be a part of Community Christian Church’s deaf ministry in Naperville. Providing accessibility to those who are deaf/hard of hearing.

    I LOVE my job as an interpreter! I am astounded by how much technology has changed the lives of people who are deaf/hard of hearing. What a gift to be witness to these communication enhancements!

  6. Keith St.Onge
    Keith St.Onge says:

    When Karen arrived at my ski school I wasn’t sure how to take her. She had not barefoot skied in twenty years, she wasn’t in the greatest shape and deaf. I didn’t have anything going my way but Karen did. She had DEEP passion to get her feet back on the water and that’s all we both needed.

    After watching the trailer “I’m Fine, Thanks” I am so looking forward to watching the film.

    Karen has helped me reach my dream of writing a book, which we wrote together. I love her enthusiasm and drive to succeed at whatever she decides to do!

  7. Lenny Kepil
    Lenny Kepil says:

    Hey KP! Great story!! Kinda reminds me of a book that I just finished reading, “Dead Lucky” (The story of a Man that reached the summit of Mt. Everest twenty years after a previous attempt).

    Since I personally know you, One critical part that is missing here is your journey back to heath… Without that, this won’t even be a remote possibility!

    I bring that up because most People might not be able to relate to BareFooting or returning to any sport from their Youth…
    By the same token, I think most can definitely relate to the challenges of returning to heath and that aspect of your journey can sure help to lead and inspire a great number of Folks in that dream!

    Great work, Keep it up!

  8. Shanna Groves
    Shanna Groves says:

    Karen – I’ve got a word for you: BOLDNESS. When I think of you, that is the word that comes to mind. Thank you for inspiring so many of us to get off the couch and make a difference right where we are. We are better for knowing you.

    Shanna / LipreadingMom.com

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