Waking up to the smell of bacon is one of my son’s favorite things. It is an awesome thing to wake up to. Most weekends I make breakfast for everyone in the house at least one of the two days. I have a standard menu which consists of breakfast potatoes with peppers and onions and a heavy dose of old bay seasoning, bacon or sausage, and eggs cooked to preference. The ritual of weekend breakfast is something I enjoy, and I hope my family appreciates. My father-in-law is famous for his pancakes and the “secret” ingredients and the kids love that tradition as well.
Preparation for the breakfast takes time and waking up early to cut the veggies, get some scallions from the garden and to start the potatoes and bacon. The satisfaction of smiling faces and full bellies helps me to feel like it is truly the weekend.
I’m also preparing for a fishing trip next week to Central Pennsylvania. The preparation for a fishing trip has some similar characteristics to my weekend breakfast ritual. I have repeated patterns of both flies and behaviors, and I am looking forward to the satisfaction of my own smiling face after landing some wild brown trout.
I have a list of flies I need to tie, camping supplies to inventory and pack, meals to plan and groceries to purchase. I have reached out to local experts and read updates on the local fly shop websites and gathered all the information I can to be prepared. There is lots of work to do. By the time I get to the river, I will likely have spent as much time preparing for the trip as I will spend fishing. My thought and care for fishing and my time on the river drives me to do the work to prepare. The same is true for the weekend breakfast, the love of my family and desire to give back to them nourishment and support. American Journalist George Lorimer said, “You’ve got to get up every day with determination, if you’re going to go to bed with satisfaction.”
As a parent when you think about your children, you want to do all you can for them. When you have a passion or hobby that brings you joy, you invest your time and energy to pursue it. Other aspects of life require work but sometimes we don’t want to invest time, or we assume things will stay as they are without effort. Our relationships and careers all take investment in ourselves and communication with those closest to us. But sometimes worry, stress, doubt, anger or pain can break our confidence and cause us to lose connection.
Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.” I use my time on the river to clear my mind and settle my nerves from the stresses of life. The past two weeks I have not had time on the river. However, during this time without fishing, I have benefited from changing my mindset and opening my lines of communication. I can get caught in patterns where the labor of life dominates my mind and I feel like a spectator and not a participant. I begin to think I cannot achieve certain things. Spending time with my wife and my kids has been tremendously rewarding and helps me break the spectator mindset. We have cooked together, hiked together, talked together, and spent time outside working in the yard. Hugs and words of appreciation strengthen the connections and help me see what we can achieve together.
My work has slowed and been stressful due to the slowing economy and uncertainty with COVID. At times, my confidence in my ability to manage through slow work and uncertainty has wavered. My time with my family and time on the river has shown me that a positive outlook, a willingness to work, and open communication can help you achieve great things even when things are challenging. The Dalai Lama stated, “Just one small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day.”
To learn about fly fishing, the willingness to work is critical for improvement. I have sought to improve my flies, techniques, leaders, and preparation. I feel as if I am getting better by reading and working hard. Putting the work into all the aspects of our lives can have similar benefits. Thomas Edison said,” Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” In a blog I wrote in February, I presented a graphic that shows the relationship between difficulty and ability and the importance of staying positive and feeling challenged. Embracing the benefits of hard work and preparation can result in the satisfaction George Lorimer described. My time off and on the river the past two weeks has reminded me that life is better when we put in work and stay positive in our mindsets. All aspects of our lives, not just fishing, benefit from putting in the work, openly communicating, and staying positive.