Journal Entry December 5th, 2016

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

-Winston Churchill-

     This quote by Winston Churchill can be applied to so many aspects of our lives. Whether we are talking about success in our career, lives, or passions we pursue, this quote is extremely relevant.

   As an educator I sometimes find myself being caught up in what others, faculty, think of me. While this is important, it is not the end all be all of my job. The students I serve are who matter to me. Their opinions of me mean more to me than anything. Their ability to feel safe, comfortable, wanted, and a sense of accomplishment in my room are what matter. I am in the business of education. Education of young people. People who are beginning to form their identities. They are in a confusing time in their lives. With friends, with family, with life in general. I choose to be that guide through a difficult time in their lives. Someone to look up to, to be a confidant, and to be a mentor.

   I try and approach my life in this way. I try to learn from those around me and to not measure success in tangible ways sometimes. At times, we find ourselves looking for an answer. When in fact the question we have developed is the real success. When we question things, we are analyzing the world around us. This is why I use fishing as a metaphor for life. What worked for me today? is a good question. But an even better question is, What didn’t work for me today? Approach your life in a way that you move forward from your successes and get better, reflect on your failures and get better, and always realize there is something to learn, even when we consider ourselves successful.

Journal Entry November 29th, 2016

“Family is not an important thing  it’s everything”

-Michael J. Fox

      With the holiday season upon us and the conclusion of another Thanksgiving, it’s important to remember those around us. I spent my Thanksgiving break from school surrounded by family and friends. It was a time where I could catch up with family members from other states, create new traditions with my immediate family, and welcome my two new nephews into the warmth of family this holiday season.

    Take a moment in the coming weeks and take a deep breathe. Appreciate all you have, however much or however little that might be. Enjoy the time with those around you. If you don’t think you have time, make time. Regardless of how tired you are. Family is forever, not physically, but spiritually and emotionally. Take a moment to pass down traditions, however simple those are. Tell the next generation how important they are to this world. Help your family grow. My wife and I do not have children right now, but I can assure you that when we do, they will be surrounded by loving friends and family.

   Teach those in your life compassion. Teach them humility. Teach them to be a better person, even if they are already great. We all have room for growth. We all have the ability pass down our values.

Journal Entry November 21st, 2016

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

-Abraham Lincoln-

 

As we are approaching this year’s Thanksgiving, I have reflected on people I have lost over the short life I have had. I reflected on where my passion for life came from. I have pursued a career where I interact with teenagers on a daily basis. I sit and ask myself, what drew me to this. I think it’s because in a world where most doesn’t make sense, especially for today’s youth, I want to be a guide for them. I think that after being guided, for the most part, down the right path for me, I realized I had great guides in my life.

Former teachers, coaches, family friends, and grandparents have all done there part to help mold me into the person I am today. I have recently been thinking about a man who I considered my grandfather. He was not my grandfather biologically, but by marriage. His name was Bill. He was a great man, someone my grandmother met late in life. I knew him for most of my life, from about the age of 5 until he died in my first year of college. I took it pretty hard. He taught me a lot and really gave me that nudge out the door to go and fish. He taught me how to cast, work a lure and how to be patient.

Bill died only 3 years into his retirement. We had big plans to travel to different places and catch several different kinds of fish. He wanted to hunt with me as well, something we never got the chance to do. Died when he was in his early 70’s. Aged, but not old, not by a long shot. Cancer took him and it took him fast. I remember one of the last things he told me. He told me to enjoy life, because one day it is taken from you. I try to make everyday count, I try to give my daily dose of advise to students I teach. As a teacher, I take my job very seriously. I am a teacher of science, but also about life. I try to guide my students down a steady path.

So, as we approach this coming holiday and Christmas, ask yourself; Am I really living life? We have a tendency to remember what life is. Life isn’t about bills, work, and pleasing people. Life is about experiencing whatever it is that makes us happiest. For me, that fishing and hunting. For my wife, it’s sitting outside playing with our dogs, or reading a book. As long as your happy and enjoying every minute, you’re living life. We are here for a short time, we need to make the most of it.

 

Journal Entry November, 15 2016

“We do not remember days, we remember moments”

-Cesare Pavese-

 

I was at my wife’s cousins birthday party this past weekend. She’s turned 3. She is an amazing little girl. She has such energy and emotion for everything she does. Dramatic? Yes, but in the most amazing way. I am a pretty emotional, passionate, enthusiastic person. However, as I get older I find myself not enjoying some of the simple things in life.

I watched this little red head run around her living room playing with her birthday balloons. The joy in her face and sounds of excitement that we echoing through the house made it hard not to smile. Something so simple as a balloon made her so happy. She is nonjudgemental, pure, and full of life. That moment in time I saw happiness in it’s purest form.

I think that’s what draws me to fishing and hunting. It is a basal instinct in our genetic code. Something we can’t deny. My wife, who generally doesn’t fish, can’t deny the sense of joy she feels when she has a fish at the end of her line. She tells me time and time again, “I hate fishing”. Which is a complete and utter lie. I tell her every time she’s gone with me and hooks up, she enjoys every minute of it. These are the simple things that bring me the most joy. Time spent with family and friends. Time outside. Some of my fondest memories involve being outdoors, one or another. Nature, like that cute little red head, is pure, nonjudgemental and full of life. If you take a moment to enjoy the simplest of things, you may find that pure joy can be found easily.

 

Journal Entry November 8, 2016

“On Earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it”

-Jules Renard-

A friend and I were talking in my truck after a day trip to the Salmon River in Upstate New York this past Saturday. We got talking about the state of steelhead fishing in the great lakes and it’s tributaries. The conversation came up after chatting with some older gentleman after we got off the water. They were talking about how steelhead fishing these days is not like it was in years past. My friend had said, “Artie (a friend of his) has said that the state of steelhead in great lakes is concerning. About 5 years ago you could have several hookups and land several fish. Now going 1 for four or so is a good day on the river”. This is a concern, one that I have noticed even on smaller rivers in my area. The West Canada Creek that runs from Hinckley reservoir down through to the Mohawk river has slowly become a hit or miss fishery. I can remember going to that river with my grand father when I was about 14 and catching fish after fishing on my fly rod. Now you really have to work for our fish. This can also be said about the state of our deer populations in New York. Deer populations are high, mostly females, bucks now a days are few and far between. Trophy sized animals even more so.

This concern and trend got me thinking. What are we doing to this place? or better yet, What aren’t we doing? We see this all over the news now. There are protests currently happening in North Dakota over and oil pipeline, that could threaten millions of rivers/streams, acres upon acres of wildlife habitat, humans lives. All this for a monetary gain. I am a human being, but I must say that I find myself disgusted by what we have become as a species. We prioritize our lives over other lives. We are supposed to be set apart from other living things based on the simple fact that we can reason and know right from wrong. We see ourselves as superior to all other living things. You need to ask yourself though, are we truly superior? The other living things of this world we live in aren’t destroying the place they live. We live in a beautiful world. Only to destroy it for monetary gain. I know as an outdoorsman, I want my children and their children and so on to able to see what I’ve seen and do what I’ve done. That’s why I preach going outside. See what this world has to offer. Money or not, you can experience nature and when you do you have a better chance of protecting it. I try to do my small part, I recycle, I bring out what I’ve taken in, I try and open other’s eyes, I have compassion for the other creatures of this Earth. I hunt, yes, in some peoples eyes this is just blind killing. But, it’s not. We have created a problem in this world. We allow animals to overpopulate, which in turn does damage to an ecosystem. We are by nature, hunters. By hunting and fishing, we give the wildlife value. Which will help keep them safe. Be smart and keep conservation in mind whenever you’re out in the woods or on a river. Take care of game you pursue. If you don’t, one day it may not be there to enjoy.

Journal Entry October 31, 2016

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.”

-Martin Buber-

   I have often wondered what uprooting and selling most of my belongings would be like. Buying a camper and traveling to see the many places our country and world have to offer. Then I considered what “seeing the world” really meant. To me, the world can be different for everyone. I guess what I am trying to say the world is more than just some terrestrial rock floating in space. Our world can be both physical and spiritual. My world revolves around three things. My family/friends, the outdoors, and culture. On that order. Find friends who are like family. The friends whom I have come to love the most are more like family than friends. I have a small loyal group of friends. Each with their own little things I can take away from them. Patience, wisdom, calmness, knowledge, just to name a few. All my friends and family inspire me in some way. We encounter one another for a reason, in my opinion. Whether you believe in a high power or not, you cannot deny the fact that for some other worldly reason, you are attracted to those who compliment you in some way. It’s an indescribable phenomenon that I don’t think we will ever figure out. Surround yourself with those who make you a better person, and whom you can learn from. That is the greatest gift they can give you and also the greatest gift you can give them. I guess I’m a teacher at heart, in more ways than one. Take every chance encounter and really think about why that person entered your life. Some of the greatest friends I have were met by sure coincidence. We may have worked in the same building and has students in common or had been placed in the same testing room. Maybe a sports team where only a few stood out and kept in touch, even after a short time. I am not a wealthy person in a monetary sense. I am average in my financial bracket. However, I am rich. My uncle once said to me in response to someone thinking I had a lot of money, “Tell them you’re rich in family”. I am rich in family. A family that means the world to me. I think that’s why I have the urge to travel. I want to meet people. I like to make connections. That’s why I love teaching. That’s why I love fishing and hunting. Fishing and hunting will inevitably bring you closer to someone. You have a common interest and passion. In closing, take every encounter with people with an open heart and see what they have to offer.

Journal Entry October 27, 2016

“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”

-Dalai Lama-

 

A few months ago I celebrated my 25th birthday. I am at the point in my life where I am smack dab in the middle of late adolescence and early adulthood, at least mentally. I have had worthy enough experiences where I feel I can start putting my thoughts down for others to read. It may help it may not. I have begun my second year as an educator and my second year as husband. Both with their fair share of ups and downs, but I would never trade those for anything. My wife and I returned from our second trip from the Florida Keys on August 12th, 2016.

If you were to walk around my house you would see that I am in love with the outdoors, especially fly-fishing. Not nearly as in love as I am with my wife. Which brings me to my point of this entry. She tolerates this obsession I have with the outdoors. Obsession is a good word for it. She allows me to continue my passions for being out in nature. Most of my greatest inspirations happen while I’m in pursuit of fish or other game. During my time in the Keys I had this epiphany. I remember the day, August 4th, 2016. I starred off into the distant crystal blue water of the Florida backcountry. I pondered my life and asked if I was truly happy where I was in my life. I am a wrestles soul by nature and have never been one for sitting still for to long. When I am casting a fly I am at peace. I reflect on decisions and mistakes I’ve made. There are always opportunities to grow and get better at whatever it is that you do. Constantly reflect on yourself. You have to learn to make yourself happy before you can begin to make someone else happy. I am, for the most part, happy with who I am as a person and where I am at in life. I have doubts and concerns, just like everyone does, but I work through them. I constantly ask if what I am doing is the right thing, for me, and everyone involved.

The point is, make yourself happy. We choose to be outdoors becomes it stirs something inside us. Some do it for the trophy. Some, like me, do it to be at peace when all else seems to be a problem. If you’re in a relationship with someone who is obsessed with being outdoors, even if it’s not your thing, ask him or her about it. Be involved with them with their passion. Experience it for yourself and see what they see. I know my greatest times outdoors are with those I love, especially my wife. There is something special about experiencing your passion with someone you love.