“We plan our free time like a day at the office; a weekend spent at home is one in which we can “get a few things done.” We no longer simply wish to enjoy our leisure, we wish to be successful at it.”
--Ted Leeson – Inventing Montana
I think I have written about this before, although I can’t remember exactly where or when right now, mostly because I am exhausted. No one likes to read (or hear) people complain about being tired, so I will try to make that the last such mention of my tiredness. I only bring it up because my mind has been thinking about the old time vs. money paradox that I often think about in life.
I am firmly of the opinion that, assuming I can make enough money to live, time is a more valuable resource than cash. Unfortunately, it seems like everyone else thinks my time is a nice resource also. And through my own ineptitude I end up spending oodles of time on things that are not fly fishing.
Its not that I dislike the things I am doing. I started teaching an English course at a local university. I am doing it for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I want to make some extra money and teaching classes pays better than writing fly fishing articles about my favorite rivers. It also pays better than writing noodle-shaped essays on this blog, which is one of the reasons things have been slow here lately.
But that is not the only reason I am teaching. Frankly, there was a time in my life my when college professor sounded like it might be the coolest job on the planet. And I still think it ranks up there. I never had the stomach for academia that it would take to get a Ph.D. from a top school, but I have enjoyed my on-again, off-again relationship with college that is currently on with this strange role reversal that has me at the front of the class rather than the back.
And even more strangely, I am enjoying it more from the front of the room. It is challenging and thought-provoking and completely different from my day job. It is also a lot of work. I am hoping that part of the reason is that this is my first semester—mostly because I am signed up to do this for at least another year.
The end result of this new venture, coupled with the ongoing craziness that is the rest of my life, means I have very little free time, and what I do have tends to get spent in ways that remind me too much of the Leeson quote above.* There is a lawn to be mowed, a garden to plant, things to spring clean and fix. Most importantly there are two kids who expect their dad to do his job.
*By the way, I read and loved Inventing Montana. Fantastic book. Love the idea of each of us inventing the places we inhabit. Very cool.
Last weekend I snuck off and went fishing for the first time in a month. It wasn’t an epic trip. I spent six or seven hours on a lake landed a total of three fish. But it was nice to not feel rushed or counted on.
I am reminded of the John Gierach quote: “Life is short, and responsibility is overrated.” It is generally our responsibilities to other people that eat up our time. I don’t know a magic trick that somehow fixes all this. I am in far too deep to junk it all and become a trout bum, and that is not what I want anyway.
I just want enough of those days on the water to keep going. Days spent locked in and responsible only to myself and the next cast. Hoping to drop the fly in that little bucket two currents over where I can imagine a trout might rise. If I can get enough of those kind of days, I’ll be okay.