By JEFF LUND
January 08, 2015
Bill Heavey writes the back page column for Field and Stream Magazine and is a true wordsmith. It took me all of a page and a half to find a column-worthy quote in his newest book, “You’re not lost if you can still see the Truck.”
It isn’t just a good quote, it’s an integral quote — a necessary collection of words which properly articulates one of the most important aspects of life. A life void of some sort of enthusiasm discourages growth and can lead to stagnancy.
When you’re good at something, it’s easy to be enthusiastic. At least, that’s what I assume, since I am relentlessly average at everything except staring at a blank computer screen and putting off my column until the last minute. But I’m fine with that.
How well you do something is not as important as the amount of joy that thing brings. If we required a specific level of competency in order to go forth with a hobby we’d inevitably be disappointed and probably give up. Outdoorsing would cease to exist as we know it.
We don’t have to pretend to be immune to frustration, just embrace it as part of the process. This is the time of year when enthusiasm is critical because a high volume of people are doing things which require enthusiasm to follow though.
I don’t like resolution season because often times they become sarcastic or half-hearted. That largely overshadows those who honestly and enthusiastically want to change something about their health, outlook, situation or relationships.
There are no doubt thousands, if not millions of people who want to include something in this new year. With that comes the risk of failure or even ridicule and nothing is a drain on enthusiasm like a jealous or hurtful gibe — you’re not the fly fishing, trapping, hunting, marathon, gym, CrossFit, writing, culinary, guide, ocean or Alaskan type.
What I’ve found is that the reality is there’s always someone out there better than you. The only comparison that matters is the comparison to a better version of yourself. I whole-heartedly agree with self-assessment, but that shouldn’t involve a calendar. What I don’t like about resolutions is the commercialization, the pop culture nature of it. It’s like a quick gut-check amid the chaos of celebration, eating and maybe even some debauchery with knowledge that most of the resolutions will die after a couple weeks. It’s almost funny if it does. It’s nearly a badge of honor to brag about how many times the resolution hasn’t stuck. We applaud a lack to stick-to-it-ed-ness.
The ironic thing, is that in a culture which is becoming increasingly politically correct and soft by the standards of many, there is also the idea that it is a waste of time and effort if in the end, greatness is not achieved. We believe that you have to be good, or great at something otherwise, what’s the point?
This is exactly why I bought Heavey’s new book. Leave it to an outdoor writer to put life in proper perspective this time of year -- keep your resolve and know it’s more important to be excited than great. No matter what your resolution is, or if you don’t even have one.
Jeff Lund is a Teacher, Freelance Writer, living in Ketchikan, Alaska