New Year, new goals


Lately, I’ve read three statements that resonated with me. One was by Oprah. I don’t recall the exact words, but it was something like this: As kids when we were made to stand in a corner or sent to our room, the idea was for us to think about what we had done wrong and then make improvements. This virus has made us stand in a corner and think. It would be a shame if we didn’t learn our lesson and make improvements in our lives.

Here’s another thoughtful statement by journalist Doug Larson, “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing poles.”

The past year was challenging for all of us, and we’re not nearly through with the difficulties yet. In addition to COVID-19 knocking out some of my outdoor plans, our new home building project took up a lot of time and energy. I didn’t want to venture too far away because we never knew when the builder would call with a question or issue. I look forward to this year and am determined to engage in more outdoor activities. Last spring, I had planned a May bluegill trip with friends to West Boggs Lake near Loogootee. That got cancelled. I had in mind heading up to Turtle Creek Lake near Sullivan, but that didn’t happen. I wanted to try Newton Lake, a power plant reservoir over in Illinois, for bass. Nada also. How about the White River near Shoals for perch and smallmouth in August? Nope. Then I heard there are nice smallmouth in Beanblossom Creek near Bloomington and Lost River near Paoli. Didn’t make it. How about the Ohio River near Evansville, drifting plastics or live bait for stripers, bass, perch, or whatever will bite? Nope. Of course, I had several good outings at local lakes, so I was not that outdoor deprived. Like most fishermen I’m always dreaming of that idyllic spot out there somewhere.

My youngest and oldest sons, in Evansville and Indianapolis, love to play golf. I have two grandsons and one granddaughter who enjoy it also. How often did we get together this year? Zero. Whose fault is that? I accept responsibility. This year, I vow to take the initiative to set some time on the course with my family. The son in Evansville, another son in Spencer and one of his boys, and a granddaughter enjoy fishing. How often did we venture out this year? Zero. I can’t blame the virus for all of these strikeouts. I’ve learned a few lessons in life, and one is that usually things don’t happen until I make them happen. So, Oprah, the lesson I’m learning here is that family and friends are extremely important and should not be taken for granted.

Time is drifting away. As a nearly 74-year-old, how many seasons in the sun do I have left? Someday, I’ll regret not doing more with my life in general, especially if they involve my wife or my family. I want to take Jenny to places in America that we haven’t seen. We’ve been blessed to enjoy several really good trips. I hope this year eventually sees us heading out on the road to see more of this incredible country. As the song from the musical “Rent” goes, we all have 525,600 minutes in a year. Some of that has already slipped away. Fail to plan? Plan to fail.

Being outside cuts down the risk

Virus transmission is usually done indoors. That’s why golf course revenue was up big time, fishing licenses and tackle sales increased, and lots of folks were out with their boats fishing, water skiing or just enjoying being outside. If you’re not an outside person, think about becoming one. But you still need to be cautious around park areas frequented by others, such as bathrooms.

Here’s another quote from author Chimananda Adichie, “Life is short” really means “Do something.” Maybe it’s time to make changes in your life, starting with your health. Overweight? High blood pressure? It may be within your power to improve your numbers. It’s that underlying health thing that gives virus sufferers real trouble. Question: What is a frequently overlooked transmitter of the virus? It’s gas stations. Do you carry hand sanitizer and plastic disposable gloves in your car? Just get into the routine of sanitizing and it becomes a habit. If you’re a non-mask wearer, I understand your reluctance. I just don’t want you to give the virus to me.

I have several things I want to do yet in addition to the above mentioned. Besides seeing new places with my wife, I’d like to be around to see my grandchildren have their own families.

After FaceTiming with my oldest son in November and seeing how ill he was with COVID-19, the virus became a lot more real to me.

He had a persistent fever for more than two weeks, had a deep cough, lost taste, smell, and weight, and suffered agonizing night sweats.

His wife and three of the four kids struggled with the virus as well.

Thank God they’re over it now, but our son was fatigued for some time afterward.

If we all develop better health habits, we’ll get through this crisis and maybe even learn something from it, such as doing more in an environment where we can get some sunshine and a nice breeze.

It might be a good thing if interest in the outdoors actually created a shortage of fishing poles this year.

Stay well--spring is not far off. Better days are ahead. In the meantime, dress warmly and take a walk.

It’ll do you good.

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