Fly Fishing: The Couples Who Play Together. . .

IMG_0755.jpgSo my husband and I are taking a month long fishing trip to New Zealand this winter.  Being very excited for planning the adventure and in order to best attempt to find those fishing spots that make New Zealand so legendary, I went on Amazon and bought a few books as resources for where to start.

Today I opened up those books to dig into plotting the trip.  I wanted to share this quote that was on one of the opening pages:

‘Once upon a time a prince met a beautiful princess.

“Will you marry me?” the prince asked.

The princess said, “No.” 

And the prince lived happily ever after.  And he fished, and skied, and hunted, and went on long safaris, and he drank expensive whiskies by the campfire, and there was no one there to tell him he played too much, and that it was costing a fortune. . .‘ ~ Anonymous

What the heck is that about? That’s the stupidest story I’ve heard.

I started blogging with the intent to share my experiences as a woman, newlywed, newbie fly fisher and all the other random streams of consciousness my brain comes up with that’s associated with relationship.  As this has opened up conversations with many women I have realized that for some odd reason, fly fishing is very intimidating for girls in comparison to boys. Why?

I totally am NOT a feminist for what we consider as feminist issues in western culture. I have no qualms with trusting my husband as the leader in our relationship because he respects my role that’s not in front of him, or behind him but rather beside him. He is a man to trust as the leader and I gladly respect our roles in our relationship.  So trust me, this is not at all an argument against men.  It is to give praise to what is such an awesome blessing to so many peoples lives; marriage.

But dangit!  Quotes like that loop all women into an unfair stigma that we’re all a bunch of snotty brats who don’t believe in fun.  It just makes me sad that that quote is an example of the vast perception that “the fun ends here” when you choose to consider commitment to a relationship.  Terms like “Ball and Chain” or “The One Who Wears the Pants” are often associated with a spouse in a marriage.  This is a gross context to place relationship in. I believe that marriage and commitment are decisions to praise and should be a fun prospect (That is if you want marriage.  For the record, you don’t have to want marriage.  Singleness is also a cool choice).

I come from a breed of women who are their mans best friend.  We mountain bike, fly fish, hunt, snowboard, dirt-bike, can say we lived in wall tents with our men and all of which are totally thrilling to us.  The best part is that our men LOVE to do all of this alongside us!  This is not brought up to brag but it’s to prove that you can indeed be your spouses best friend and that there are adventures you can pursue alongside each other and that it’s just flat wrong to think that marriage is anything less than freedom.  Sadly, marriage is viewed as imprisonment for some people but it doesn’t have to be that way and isn’t for so many couples I admire.

I can see that a common perception women have towards men is that they aren’t romantic enough and I see men say that their wives (or girlfriends, whatever) are too much of a “princess” to go out and do anything with them.  I have a theory that men have hearts for romance in their own ways and that women often fail to see the unique ways that their men are romantic. Women sadly miss the opportunities to praise their men for it.  I considered it romantic when my husband and I were mountain biking and after I took a nasty spill and broke my chain, he traded bikes and “Flintstoned” my chain-less bike all the way back home.  We all have unique husbands with unique ways to say “I love you” without having to say it at all.

I’m not saying that you have to be Annie Oakley to be a woman your man appreciates or that you have to keep up with every manly activity he enjoys.  You don’t have to go on every single excursion and I think it’s great when your man goes to hangout with the guys. It’s great to want romantic dinners, love notes, intimacy and to desire for your man to want that too. I also think that we women need to meet in the middle ground to recognize when our men are cherishing us and being romantic when it’s not involving candlelight and expensive dates.  These opportunities might be when he makes dinner, works longer hours to save up for that vacation, checks the fluids in the car or teaches you how to cast a fly.  I feel like men crave romance too but not always in the same ways we do.  They want to share adventure with us and to have us get out there with them in whatever shenanigans they’re stirring up from time to time.  Or to at least be cheering them on in the ways that make them feel alive.

I think that we can be the kind of women that are the opposite of that princess in that stupid quote. Seriously, I have a strong dislike for that quote. You can have a relationship that shows your significant other that they can pursue their crazy dreams and that you are a woman to take along or in the least be that awesome chick who advocates adventure.  Of course, there needs to be balance between work, responsibility and play (just to throw in that disclaimer!). But as a woman you also have adventure in your DNA and you have what it takes to be that girl who your husband brags about.

Guys, you might need to invite your women on your adventures every once in awhile.  Instead of going golfing with the guys for the third time this week, maybe take her instead.  Let her know that she is exciting, engaging, worth bringing along and that you genuinely enjoy her company.  Tell her she’s sexy in those moments when she’s trying or succeeding in adventure and not only when she’s in heels and perfectly done up.  Maybe learn something with her.  Just find a way that you can share excitement in life together.

Oh, and it still doesn’t hurt to rub her shoulders every once in awhile, it might result in a happy ending.  Wink, wink!

For all of us men and women, we need to stop accepting that quotes like the one I mentioned as an accurate perception of commitment.  We need to knock it off with laughing at the common notion that marriage means the end of things.  Stop seeing partners and wives as adventure’s buzz kill.  Marriage and relationship are gifts and can be the start of so many stories worth sharing together.  You can choose to enjoy it with your spouse if you want to.

This weekend, I’m nothing but excited to get out with my husband to throw some flies.  I can’t wait for another memory, another fish and another opportunity to enjoy the heck out of life with him!

With so much love,

Sara

Fly Fishing: A Joyful Kind of Lonely

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When was the last time you found yourself immersed in something that brought you joy?  I’m not talking about the “happiness” that comes with making an Amazon purchase, or getting a few laughs out of your favorite Netflix series.  I’m talking about the deep satisfaction of when you got out there and did something that didn’t require a screen, a click, or a swipe to the right.

We each find that high through our own unique avenues maybe by hitting the gym (I wish that was mine all the time),  creating art, playing music, cooking a meal, loving family, finding an adrenaline rush and countless other ways.  For me, a prevalent avenue of joy is seeing that fish hit the fly in those last few minutes of daylight when the air has cooled down.  It seems odd to say but it’s a lonely joy. It’s a joy that comes from being so connected to the moment, and it doesn’t require the presence of others.

I have started to understand that loneliness isn’t a feeling to suppress but maybe a cue that you need to lean into gaining a deeper understanding of who you are and what you hope to be. We are caught in a time that makes it impossible to be alone.  When we are alone we unthinkingly scroll through our news feed, pin things, watch another episode and all of which are often far removed from our lives. We are becoming more lonely by finding things to not be alone.

We can avoid loneliness so easily, but what are we losing because of that?  What discoveries about us are we missing out on because we focus on the external and shallow happy feelings we get from being entertained?  Is it possible that being lonely is an  opportunity to capitalize on finding what you can cultivate in your character, talents, and dreams for life?  Think of those conversations we could be having with our spouses, the words we could be writing, and the people we could be loving if we could just capture those moments that we just hand away to entertainment.

So here’s what I hope I can encourage you in.  If you are lonely, it doesn’t mean you should go find more friends (but maybe it does every once in awhile).  It doesn’t mean you are a loser for being lonely or that you’re undesirable company. I have found that when I acknowledge my loneliness that I’m able to think clearly about the things that make me anxious or to tackle what I have been avoiding. It might be that you need to put the phone down and understand what it is your soul is lonely for.  It could be prompting you to go on a walk, to pick up a book you love, tell your kiddo you’re proud of them, or to finally stop adding another pin to that damned board and go make something yourself.  Do something that doesn’t take your time and gives nothing back.

For me, it has often meant that I need to drive down the road and see what fish are stacked up in that pool on the river I drive by everyday.  Fly fishing helps me become close to who I feel created me and never leaves me feeling like I wasted my time.  Never have I been on a river and not felt a deep sense of gratitude for this life and for who I go home to get to share it with.

May this leave you encouraged and remind you that your loneliness is the call of your soul asking for you to cultivate what it is you do to bring light to the world.  Go kiss your wife, call your parents, tie a fly, pray, or whatever your soul is needing instead of looking at your phone tonight.

With so much love,

Sara

Fly Tying and Life

 

13680984_1397999840216760_3772335269239668601_nIt’s intimidating venturing into new territory.  Your first assumption is that you look ridiculous.  The funny thing is; you’re totally spot on with that thought.  But, at least you’re looking like something, even if it is that you look like you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.

The following are just a few thoughts that have been on my heart because I wish someone else would write it.  And maybe they would actually do the subject matter some justice.  But I’ll give it a shot.

I didn’t start fly fishing until I was 24 and it’s only been a year and half since then.  My first time was on a first date with a guy who I’m now blessed to call my husband.  Talk about what should had been an intimidating date!  Luckily, my man obviously wasn’t too judgmental when I would have to ask “I didn’t hook you just now, right?”.  Metaphorically, I did.  Please forgive that pun. . .

As you can imagine, I’ve been learning a lot about life since that day.  Fly fishing has  been story that has paralleled the one of my relationship continuing to a marriage we’re now three months into.  What I’m certain of with both these stories is that I’m a clumsy learner.  But it’s a story of clumsiness worth telling.

I have been a hot mess at fly fishing.  It took me about four months to even land my first fish and I land bushes with the consistency I wish would be directed at the fish.  Seriously, I think I can get tangled better than most pros out there and I’d be a fool to not claim my rightful credit for that fact.  I also can say that I have a vibrant vocabulary in those moments that would make a sailor blush.  Mostly, I do what I can to demoralize any self esteem that bush had before it met me. I like to think it works.

The worst part about fly fishing is being new at it.  Unless you’re a god unlike me, it’s a learning curve that isn’t all that intuitive as you go.  If it was easy, shut up and I don’t want to talk to you. It’s a lot of time taking 20 minutes to tie on a fly, and losing it on a snag after your first cast which results in being done for the night because it’s too maddening.  It’s walking into the fly shop and having to admit you actually don’t know what a nymph is. It’s when you aren’t sure if that’s a brown or a rainbow, but actually it’s a white fish.  But the funny and crazy part about it is that you love it.  If you’re like me, you look ridiculous.  And at some point, you need to let that go.

Learning is demoralizing.  It demoralizes your arrogance of being great at what you already know.  Learning has a way of keeping you humble, especially as an adult.  And with something like fly fishing, you have no choice but to learn or to quit.  The entertaining part about this thought, is that marriage has the exact same principles so far.  But along with being entertaining, it is also encouraging.  We don’t have to know it all, and we never will.

So here’s what I have to say to you ladies out there who have thought a time or two about picking up a fly rod.  Try it.  Screw up a lot and then try again.  Go out there knowing you don’t look great, but also that you are more alive trying at it than wishing you had the guts at all.  Know that you can ask for help and that there’s others who might know a thing or two and would love nothing more than to give you some helpful tips.  Laugh at yourself for being clueless.

Maybe you’re a newlywed like me.  Maybe you’re newly divorced.  You could be facing your first summer as a widow.  Maybe you have no desire for relationship.  Or maybe you’re applying for a loan for the first time.  We’re all learners and teachers to one another.  Just take in the fact that on whatever front your facing, you will learn and hopefully will thrive in time.

Just pick up the fly rod and trust that with wherever you’re at, now’s the time to learn.

Whatever you’re learning, just don’t quit.

 

With so much love,

Sara