It’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,