Thursday, May 15, 2014

What do you want to do that you can't due to weight?

Wow – What fun! Those are the best words I can think of to describe my fly-fishing trip yesterday on the Muskegon River near the Croton Dam. My friends, Ken & Cathy Zimmerman, invited me to go along with them as they fished for steelhead trout. Cathy ties flies for Dave Roller, the owner of the charter fishing company, Pere Marquette Outfitters, and in exchange for her services, Dave gives her multiple fishing trips per year. They invited me to go with them salmon fishing last fall as a 50th birthday “out-of-my-comfort-zone” experience and I absolutely loved it. I didn’t think a return trip could live up to that first trip, but once again, Pere M delivered a thrilling day of fun and excitement.
Our guide yesterday was Dave’s son, Lil David, and he was awesome. He grew up in the business and he certainly knows the river and is an expert fisherman. Patient too! The steelhead were on the gravel beds spawning and he knew exactly the ‘hot spots’ for fishing. That is partially why we were on the river at 5:30 in the morning: He wanted to get the perfect spot and we wanted to be ready to fish at the first sign of daylight.  We were!  Lil David hooked a fish right away and gave me the pole to reel it in.  Steelhead are very big fish…..and fight like crazy, jumping on out of the water, running upstream, tugging and pulling, but with David’s guidance and coaching, I managed to bring her to the boat. I was literally doing the happy dance…so excited!  It was barely daylight when I got my first fish and the rest of the day was much of the same. The fish were biting like crazy and even though only two of us could fish at a time, we managed to land 19 fish out of 25 hooked in about six hours of fishing. We caught a lot of fish, but we didn’t keep any of the spawning females or more than two males off the bed where we were fishing. Cathy caught a brown trout and a few suckers.  It was Awesome! If you are looking for a wonderful experience for yourself or others,   check out peer Marquette. Even if the fish aren’t biting, it’s sure to be great experience because all the guides are patient, knowledgeable, and great people!
Yesterday was just one of many ‘I never believed I’d ever be able to do this’ type of experiences that I have had since changing my life. Even though I went on a family vacation every summer as a kid, there are SO MANY things that I yet to experience; so many places I’ve never been; so much life left to live. Although fly-fishing is likely not on many people’s ‘bucket list’, it just another one of those…. ‘Oh my goodness….how cool is this” moments that never would have been possible when I weighed 400+ pounds and was unable to walk. I never would have been able to get down to the river, let alone in a boat. Perhaps this summer I will even be able to take my canoe out for a river trip; something I used to do multiple times every summer, but haven’t done in at least ten years. So much fun waiting… little time…...sigh…..but LIFE IS SHORT… I encourage you to do whatever you need to do so that you can live life to the fullest.
Tomorrow will be another one of those new and exciting experiences; I am speaking to a large crowd at the Soaring Eagle Casino!  Although I’ve shared my story many times, this is the biggest crowd yet. The “new thing’ isn’t the size of the crowd, (although that is A LOT of people), but rather the fact that it will be on the big stage in the entertainment hall of the casino: the same stage that Vince Gill appeared last weekend.  It’s hard to believe this, but, with the exception of the concert in the park that my friend JO took me to last summer in Dayton, I’ve never even been to a professional concert before, although I have been to several plays and taken kids on field trips to see the Radio City Rockettes back in my teaching days. It’s hard to believe that my first visit to a big concert hall will find me standing on the stage!!!!   Like I said, so much life to live!  Who knows….maybe this summer it will be zip-lining?????  Or at least a trip to Comerica Park for a Tiger ballgame or a visit to the zoo!
So, my friends, as I’ve said before: These type of moments are motivating factors for me. Days like yesterday keep me focused; keep me determined to keep on track; keep me from slipping into old habits. I encourage you today to spend some time in the next couple of days thinking about those things that you used to do; those things you used to enjoy, but can’t do any longer due to the current state of your life, and those things that would like to do. Some situations like serious illness, age, death of loved ones, etc., cannot be changed, but certainly there are ‘other’ experiences that you could enjoy. Focus on those things that can be changed….those experienced that ARE POSSBLE…..those dreams that can come true…..and use them as motivation to continue daily to make changes that will bring them to fruition. The pictures from yesterday’s fishing trip will make me think twice before giving in to temptation the next time I’ve overcome with a desire to eat junk or give up. Like those steelhead that gave me a run for my money yesterday……I am not going down without a fight! 

How about you?  Are you going to fight with all you’ve got……or are you going to give in….and up?  And finally…..What is on your ‘bucket list’ of things you hope to do someday?