Once a Month

It’s a phrase that can have a negative connotation, especially in the female world. And it would definitely warrant a joke directed towards one’s manhood if we were on Guys Fishing Weekend. However, the mantra has become the key to my ongoing happiness, allowing me to be a better friend, husband, and dad.

About five years ago, I hit a place in life I think they refer to as “The Rut.” I’m not exactly sure who “they” is, but that rut thing they talk about is real. At least for me it was. It seemed like all I did was work, parent, and husband (use this like a verb…the act or performance of husbanding). I was stuck in a vacuum of commitment. There was definitely something missing.

And it seemed like every time I wanted to go fishing, it was a major ordeal. With everyone’s schedule, I had to find a day that was clear of having to drive this one to basketball or that one to a late dentist appointment. Or be home to cook dinner because the other has a piano lesson. I know these things come with the territory and that moms and dads have been doing this shit for years. However, in order for me to do these things resentment free, I gotta make space for “me time.” And THE BEST me time is on the river.

So, that was when I made the commitment to “Once a Month.” My goal is to catch a fish a month.

I know I’m not the first person to think of this and probably got the idea from something I read; however, it was a life changer for me. For the past few years, every month I find a day to head into the foothills or mountains on a quest to catch my monthly fish. Sometimes I can coax a friend to come with, but mostly I go alone. I make a conscious effort to go in the middle of the week to avoid crowds, requiring me to use my PTO. It is a calculated effort to create space in my usual grinding, mundane schedule; the creation of space filled with a joyous love of the outdoors is priceless to my well being.

This creation of space allows me to escape and do something I love with no expectations attached. I am able to flee my world of responsibility and just go explore. I am able to say to the Mrs. when she asks me when I will be home, “Don’t know. Don’t expect me for dinner. I’ll call when I am in range and on my way home.”

“In range”…those are the best days because there is something freeing about being off the grid. Getting lost in a day of fishing up in the hills provides a respite that is exhausting physically but provides the kind of break that brings a new relaxed and fresh mindset to the everyday. These are the days I seek to experience during my “Once a Month.”

Contrary to many a fisherman before me, I honestly admit that I haven’t been successful in catching a fish every month, every year. Anyone who has fished Colorado tail waters in February can tell you…it’s fickle! But, I have been successful in at least being on the river trying to catch a fish once a month, every year.

The beauty of it is that it set a standard for me and my family. They see how much happier I am when I do the thing I love most. When I am happier, it spills into every other aspect of my life. I am a more engaged dad, husband, teacher, son, brother and friend. The break “to get away from it all” acts as a reset button for the everyday musts of life. My family even started holding me accountable, “Hey Dad, have you caught your fish this month?” I know my wife wishes I would burn my PTO days from work to spend time with her, and I’m not opposed to that…

As long as it’s after I got my fish for the month!

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