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Month: September 2016

Many hands make light work. Living without Regret!

Many hands make light work. Living without Regret!

There are some old sayings and proverbs that make no sense unless you sit and ponder them for hours on end. Thoreau said , “It’s not what you look at that matters, it is what you see.” Then there are the sayings that make sense the moment you go camping and the many hands proverb makes sense the moment you have to start packing up to leave for a trip or packing to leave the campsite.

The site of Thoreau's Walden home
The site of Thoreau’s Walden home

There are more than a few ways that I can take this post. I can focus on old sayings and see how they fit with our life today or I could focus on just one saying and try to make some excuse for why I have to finally beg for more help. I think I’ll stay positive this time, just remind me and I’ll circle back to focus on the whining later on in another post.

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” Lewis Carroll

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” William Arthur Ward

“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves and the world around us.” Socrates

“Experience is not what happens to you; it’s what you do with what happens to you.” Aldous Huxley

“Wisdom is the power to put our time and our knowledge to the proper use.” Thomas J. Watson

“I’d rather regret the things I have done than regret the things I haven’t done.” Lucille Ball

I placed these in an order by pure coincidence, but the order of what has been said is exactly how my life has turned out so far. I am willing to give up what people think about me in order to live the way that I have discussed with my wife and we think is best for our family. No regrets about our decision. I think most people would agree that regret can be a powerful force for change. When I have had advice from people who are older than I am about taking time for granted and don’t waste really living in the present and being there with my family, I listened. Time moves at a slow but steady pace one second at a time, but if we don’t focus on what is going on at the moment, the seconds tick by and we lose them forever. Living in the past and thinking about how we could’ve changed this or that to make our present circumstances better will only lead to more and more regrets about how we were when we were younger. There’s no way to go back and change it though. When we get too focused on what we are going to do in the future, pretty soon, the future is here and we’ve lost entire sections of our lives obsessing about something that may or may not matter in ten days. The present is our only chance to do what we want to do and how we make decisions and see them through is our character. Good or bad results don’t matter, we just deal with them and move on in a positive manner, if we can.
Take time today to look up wisdom/life quotes and really ponder a few of them. See how the wisdom of the people who have gone before us is still relevant to your lives today as it was to theirs then. Then go and focus on being the best version of yourself to the people who you are around. I haven’t regretted taking the time off from working a “regular” job to be home with my family, there have been days that are stressful, but I don’t regret them. I hope that you can make decisions based on the present and make good on the time that you are in. Go enjoy life!

Prizes, Proof, or Peculiar? The 3 P’s of the outdoors.

Prizes, Proof, or Peculiar? The 3 P’s of the outdoors.

Are we in this game (Fishing, Hunting …) for the prizes? The mounted trophies on our wall can be a great motivator for getting outside. Are we in this game (Fishing, Hunting …) for the Proof? To prove to others and ourselves that we are the Masters of our world, The BIG Fish if you will and we rule over the outdoors and if we want to shotgun pass a trophy trout back into the river, then BY Golly we will! Or are we in this game (Fishing, Hunting…) for the Peculiarity of trying to fit in with Nature and be a part of something bigger than ourselves. I have a feeling that if we took the time to really examine ourselves; we would find our motivations come from one of these P’s.

Spending time with my family this Labor Day weekend has made me so glad that I have put a value on my time and my family. I have a great family that would do anything for us if we ever called. I truly believe that we could do almost anything and they would come to our rescue. That being said, I know there are attitudes and issues that each of us carries around, we’re family and we all know how family is! I also know that sometimes I judge too harshly on other people’s actions and not my own. I carry each of the 3 P’s in my own person. I constantly try to get the biggest fish when we come together, and would love to be the one who can walk up to any pool and grab the lunker out of it. I think that being the BIG fish is something that is a man thing and proving that we can conquer anything is part of who we are as men. But I also believe that trying to fit in with Nature is the basis for all the love that outdoosmen have for their beloved past-times, no matter what those hobbies are.

fly fishing in a kayak

I know one of life’s greatest pleasures is working hard and enjoying the fruits of your labor. My problem with that is that I used to work hard and other people enjoyed the fruits of my labor. Not that I didn’t gain financially from it, but when money is the only motivation, it quickly loses its luster. I came to realize only too far along that money can’t buy happiness, it’s found in the life that you make. Now I have family members who are in the same place that I was a few years ago, and it pains me to see that there aren’t more options for people to spend time outdoors and make the money that you need to make in order to live a sustainable life. When this particular family member asked if I would like to fly-fish with him vs catch more with my ultra-light combo, I gladly said yes. Taking time to just exist on our waters and really step back and relax was just what we both needed. My hope for their family is to come to the peace that we have found.
Back to the proof for a minute, we also have a contest that has been running since our fall gatherings began. There in the beginning, we would have fun seeing who would catch the biggest and the smallest, the most total weight and the least… One family member in particular has always caught the bait fish that is just bigger than the size 12 hooks that we use to catch trout. I’m sorry for this person, but the redemption this year was they also caught the most for our annual fish fry and there were some awesome keepers on the stringer. But proof in numbers is a small price to pay for the sore shoulders, back and legs we all get trying to outdo one another. If we can only prove to each other that we can be the best, we’re doing life the best in all the ways we live then. It’s been a hard lesson to learn that what people really connect with is the struggles that you go through. If they can help us realize that we just need some time to step back from our problems, the solution may present itself. That I am grateful for this weekend!
And finally, peculiarity (code name Madsen family)! We are peculiar in the sense that we have found an inner contentment with what we have, we like our lives being slower paced, and we live where that form of lifestyle is not branded crazy as loons. While we haven’t retired from life, it’s been nice to see that life doesn’t have to revolve around someone else’s schedule and when they want a project done by. We live at the pleasure of Time and when we’re hungry, we eat. When time sees fit to work again in a different capacity than what we have been, I just hope I can get back to some form of balance; knowing that time and attention is the greatest gift we can give anyone on this planet.
So go out and challenge yourself to question your motives for being in love with the outdoors. Do you want to prove that you are the boss and you will come out from your camping trip dry and perfect? (Answer: Don’t think this, it never works, nothing is Pinterest perfect!) Do you want to win the biggest prize and will you be disappointed with your experience if you don’t? Or are you going to be the peculiar one and just flow with whatever Nature can throw at you? Hopefully, the peculiar nature of the outdoors can give you a draw to come back time after time. It has been fun enjoying Nature in our family, make it fun with yours.