What happens when you are forced to quit something you are fond of?
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As many of you know, I quit smoking cigars last year, a passion I enjoyed for 45 years, but understand this, it was a voluntary decision on my part to do so. More recently, I decided to hang up my fly-rod and reel, a passion I enjoyed for 25 years, but this was not a voluntary decision on my part.
Fly fishing requires a person to get into the water and walk the stream in constant search of your adversary, the trout. Your eyes are trained to look for pools and shady areas along the side of a stream, but you keep moving, regardless of how slippery the rocks are or the depth of the waters. This is all part of the game and for many years I waded through the waters unabated. Unfortunately, I’m getting to the age where my legs no longer allow me to move comfortably in the stream. Between old injuries, arthritis, and Father Time, lumbering through the water becomes more difficult with the passing of each year. In addition, my hands are no longer steady, thereby making it difficult to change a tiny fly in the middle of a stream.
I recently returned from a fly-fishing trip in Western North Carolina where I found it difficult to traverse the streams. Regardless of the comfortable water shoes and knee braces I wore, I found even the smaller streams posed a threat to me, and I feared falling and breaking something in the process. To make matters worse, I witnessed a fly-fishing contest in the area and watched two fishermen, who I judged to be in their mid-30s, boldly tramp through the waters unrestrained, as I had been able to do years ago. It was then that I realized my fly-fishing days were over and time to find another hobby.
I am going to miss fly-fishing as I loved the peace and quiet of the stream, the hunt for my aquatic adversaries, and the beauty of the surrounding woods. I refer to fly-fishing as “St. Timothy’s” as I enjoy the commune with nature and God. Some suggest I should turn to a spinning rod and live bait, and maybe I will, but to fly-fishing purists, this is considered a regression.
I guess my point here is that you should enjoy your passion while you still can, and never take it for granted. If you do, one day you will wake up and suddenly find yourself on the outside looking in. I should know, it happened to me. Life is just too short.
Keep the Faith!