“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.” – Henry David Thoreau
Right next to my father’s faded brown leather Lazy Boy in his den, his 60’s version of a man cave, was a sign that said, “Gone Fishin.” The walls of his cozy respite were covered in a faded, dusty grey woven grasscloth. On every single wall was a collection of fish – everything from a huge perch to a gigantic sailfish – proudly caught and displayed openly, as fishing was his happy place. My father wasn’t a happy man. A teeny tiny bit of something resembling “happy” would surface on his face whenever he escaped to spend a day fishing on Lake Michigan. What he was really looking to catch, I believe, was some elusive joy that he could not find in everyday life.
Perhaps we all feel that way sometimes. I know I do.
Today, I’m proudly hanging up my “Gone Fishin” shingle. I feel as if I’ve waited my entire life for this moment and I’m putting it out for all the world to see. For the next 30 days, you can find me fishing. Well, not that kind of fishing. You won’t see me with an overflowing tackle box along with a rod and reel, displaying my latest catch. Heck, I’ve been contemplating therapy for vacuuming up the fruit flies that have recently invaded my kitchen! I’ll be fishing for something far more precious and priceless. I’m going fishing to catch as much Joy as my heart can hold. I’m sensing my heart has a much greater capacity for joy than I’ve ever allowed myself to experience. It’s about time I found out!
The messages we receive as children permeate our cells and inundate our subconscious with all kinds of “untruths,” – other people’s thoughts, beliefs, issues and projections given to us – until we are ready to “ungive” them – to ceremoniously discard any such beliefs that continue to have power over us to hold us back. Midlife is the ultimate Catalyst for change. It’s a powerful permission slip from the Universe. As adults, it’s our job, to let go of the past, to forgive our parents, our teachers, anyone that left us holding the bag – their baggage and not ours – and to give back or let go of, anything that doesn’t serve us.
Clearly by now, if you’ve been reading my musings for some time, you know my childhood was a bit messed up. Okay, a whole lotta messed up! I know I’m not alone. Perhaps, yours was too. If it was, maybe you’d like to join me in displaying a “Gone Fishin” plaque and take some time for you. The thing about “messes” that are left behind, even if we didn’t make them, it’s up to us to tidy them up.
One of the most prominent messages I received was about taking time for joy or, simply any time off at all. In my male dominated household, it was seen as a sign of weakness. Joy was associated with guilt, even shame. I was taught to work hard, much too hard, for a young girl – working until physical exhaustion that was seen as a badge of honor. I was taught to strive for perfection in absolutely everything. What I learned was there is no perfect. Midlife has been wonderfully expansive for my mindset. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that nothing can be perfect when joy is missing from the equation.
Over the next 30 days, I’m planning to bust those stinking beliefs into smithereens. I’ve wanted to take a break like this for as long as I can remember. There was always an excuse – something would come up that would keep me moving forward on the crazy treadmill of life, feeling much too guilty to spend 30 days on pure joy.
I’ll admit COVID-19 has turned my life and my business upside down. Some days have been a real struggle. Waking up to face the void of an unstructured day and a future that’s very uncertain at the moment can stir up those old feelings, particularly the guilt. The truth is, if not now, when? The answer to that is simple. It couldn’t be more clear. WHEN is NOW for me.
I’m the adult.
I call the shots.
My parents are long gone, with only the tattered remnants of their “should’s” remaining.
I no longer believe in “should’s” or “should-ing on myself.”
I believe in musts.
I believe in me.
I believe in living a life with purpose, passion and joy. I am the architect of my life and in the next 30 days, I’ll be dismantling some old scaffolding and laying a foundation for a new life, one whose sole purpose is Catching Joy, Bliss, Peace and anything else that feels like a little slice of heaven on earth. I’m choosing to lead with my heart, to show that we can give ourselves permission – guilt free permission – to do or be anything that makes our hearts happy. I intend to continue to lead a movement, a revolution, one that results in a world of Happy Humans. That’s the only way we will ever change this crazy world and this crazy world needs some changing!
Cheers Beauties! Here’s to “Gone Fishin.” The ultimate truth is there is no Moxie without Joy. None. Zero. Zippo. Zilch. Wishing you a net filled with joy, happiness, peace, bliss and sheer contentment. The boat is about to leave the harbor. If you’ve been feeling like I have, consider joining me. I would love your company.
Need More Moxie?! See all my Moxie On Monday’s!