"Draining the Happiness Right Out of You"

While fishing with MidCurrent reader Chris Miller in Biscayne Bay a few weeks ago, our guide, Bob Branham said many things that brought back memories. Among the stories about wealthy but penurious clients, Bob inserted a veteran guide’s truism: “There are easier ways to make money.” Add to that the fact that there are many more direct ways for a person to go connect with fish than to depend on someone else to do the catching, and you begin to sense the rarified atmosphere in which a guide who has worked for ten, or twenty, or thirty years has learned to operate. Bob Rosner’s blog on ABCNews.com reminded me of this and of something I said to myself — many times over — during my first year of guiding: “Damn, this is hard work.” As Bob observes: “Fly fishing, sex, working in your yard, photography, cooking … [fill in the blank with one of your favorite ways to pass the time]. Now I’d like you to take that favorite activity and do it for eight hours starting on Monday. Then do it for another eight hours on Tuesday. And for good measure, do it 40 hours a week, 50 or so weeks a year.”
But then, as some folks who’ve managed to turn their passion into an avocation will tell you, there’s much to be said for taking this route in life. Somehow surviving the disappointment of having the things you love to do turn into a chore is transforming. Number one, being forced to learn to enjoy something all over again teaches you aspects of your passion that you can’t learn any other way, if only because you have to look for confirmation in things other than your own psyche: people, places, events. Two, you find, perhaps decades down the line, that you have been gifted with opportunity to truly know something at your core. It’s not a privilege everyone can claim.
So “draining?” Yes. Rewarding? Like nothing else.

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