Sunday, January 4, 2015

Reflecting on 2014 - an essay


In 2014 it became obvious to me that photography had surpassed flyfishing as my #1 hobby.  My wife tells me it's been that way for several years.  Don't get me wrong.  I still love flyfishing.  It's just that I don't think about it 24/7/12 like I once did.  Instead I think about photography 24/7/12.

I'm not even sure how many days I fished in 2014, whereas not so many years ago I kept a journal so I would be sure to know how many days I fished, with whom, what the weather was, where we fished, what the water temperature was, what flies worked, etc. etc. 

My best guess is that I fished 15 days this past year. I used to fish 40-50.

There's nothing wrong with fishing less often.  There's nothing wrong with lusting for the latest camera bodies or lenses instead of the latest fly rod or reel.  I think our lives are constantly evolving and re-balancing. As the current saying goes, "It's all good." 

It occurs to me that for most of us, interests exist for finite periods.  Then we move on.

Interests often start off slowly, become more intense sooner or later, and then trail off as other interests come into play.  Some relationships exist this way.  Some jobs exist this way.  Some businesses exist this way. I think there is a natural cycle to everything. For some things and for some people, this natural cycle may last only months, while for others it may last decades or even a lifetime. Interestingly, sometimes an interest "hibernates" for a while, perhaps for years, then re-emerges.

My interests, both past and present and in no particular order, include but are not limited to: archery, fishing, downhill skiing, stamp collecting, jogging, army dinky toy collecting, camping, backpacking, triathloning, bicycling, and photography.  Skiing was my first all-consuming pursuit. It started at age 10, gained intensity in my teen years and early 20s, then trailed off in my late 20s as I redirected myself toward family and children.  It was a very nice and enjoyable 20 year run. 

During the middle part of that period I thought about skiing all the time (or at least parts of every day...but, hey, I've always been a day-dreamer).  I remember during high school when I used to flip through the pages of skiing magazines every day after school and learned about and dreamed about the latest equipment and ski racing techniques.  In my 20s I never stopped skiing entirely, and in recent years I've found myself stepping it up a bit by aiming for 10 days of skiing per year.  Do I think about skiing the other 355 days per year? No, not really. But years ago I would have.

The same thing has happened with flyfishing. Ten years ago I was fishing once or twice a week during three seasons a year, tying flies during the winter, reading all the catalogs, adding books to my bookshelf, participating in the online forums, adding to my Web site, and acquiring gear. Not so anymore. This past year I fished perhaps 15 times.  I have no complaints about that, as I would have fished more if I'd wanted to. During the other 350 days of the year I did not think about fishing. But ten years ago I would have.

What's up for 2015?  

I have no idea how (or if) I will balance my life differently this year.  I'll just go with the flow. I know that I have been reading more.  I'd like to get back to some hiking in nearby mountains.  I'd like to keep my weight down and my conditioning up. And with regard to flyfishing and photography, I'd like to begin a long-thought-about project of using one of my high quality cameras and a macro lens to photograph colorful fishing flies with the goal of making wonderful prints...A more demanding task than publishing images on my Web site or blog. But we'll see it that happens.  

1 comment:

D. Hutton said...

Let me call your attention to Jonathan Charasuchin, better known as Jonathan Harris: You'll know him best as the oily villain, 'Dr. Smith', from the 1960's TV show "Lost in Space."

"(sic)... Throughout his long life, Jonathan had a number of hobbies: gourmet cooking, watching movies, reading, traveling, painting, magic, playing piano (he played a piano teacher in a 1968 episode of Bewitched), listening to opera, spending time with children, gardening and needlepoint. He also did some dancing in his spare time. According to the A&E Biography, on season 3, episode 19 (The Promised Planet) of Lost In Space, Jonathan's character, Dr. Smith, did a groovy 1960s dance with Penny and Will Robinson (Angela Cartwright and Bill Mumy)"

- wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Harris)

You hear the expression "Jack of all trades, Master of none," usually used in a derogatory way. But I beg to differ with that usage.
As you and Mr. Harris illustrate, what is life but a long series of escapades, adventures and activities? Far better to be competent at many things, than bound to only one.