New year's resolutions are something that many of us tackle this time of year. Some folks resolve to lose weight, quit smoking or exercise more. Some other resolutions involve personal betterment and learning new skills.
I could stand to lose 5 or 10 pounds, and I never did take up smoking. Having to walk my dogs three times a day — with one of the walks being a mile or so — meets my minimum goal for exercise. When it snows, shoveling the walks helps me get above minimum exercise requirements.
Perhaps a good resolution would be to socialize more. Many weeks during the winter I am content to sit around the house and surf the internet, read the Billings Gazette cover to cover, solve the Jumble and crossword puzzle and read books. There are days when the only person I talk face to face with is my wife, Carol.
Carol works at Home Depot in Sheridan and has plenty of opportunity to socialize on the job with customers and fellow employees. On her days off she goes to coffee with the girls, plays Scrabble with her close friend, Liz Gale, and stays in touch with her friends and family.
I guess I need to follow her lead. I know that there is always a group of fly tyers hanging out at the Fly Shop of the Bighorns, and I can always learn a new pattern from them. I also know that the folks at Rocky Mountain Discount Sports can help me learn new shooting and fishing skills, if I just ask the right person.
Another resolution I should make is to tie a half-dozen flies a day in preparation for the upcoming season. Let's see, a half-dozen Zebra Midges for seven days would probably get me through May at least. Then there are beadhead Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ears, beadhead Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Blue-Winged Olive Cripples, Griffith's Gnats, Fore-and-Afts, Solitary Midges, Parachute Adams, Red Midge Larvae, and ... My lord, I'm already into springtime if really wanted to fill up my fly boxes.
I resolve to go ice fishing on days when the temperature gets above 20. I never made it down to Healy Reservoir last year and only went to Tongue River Reservoir once. Getting some fresh air and fresh fish for the table is a worthwhile aim. I will attempt to get out at least twice a month until the spring thaw.
I resolve to work with my dogs, Chip and Trouble, more. Both are pretty good retrievers and could be better with just two training sessions a week. Along that line, I resolve to hunt the dogs more, too. It is a waste of talent not to utilize them.
I resolve to take my wife fishing more. I believe we only fished together once this year — it should have been many more days. Our first date was a fishing outing, and we loved it and each subsequent fishing trip. Those fishing trips were, for the most part, happy, loving times. I realize that the couple that fishes together stays together.
I resolve to enjoy each day for what it offers. I need to appreciate the sunrises, sunsets, moon cycles, stars, bright sunshine, clouds, winds, breezes, heat, cold and all the variations that the good Lord sends my way.
Probably the biggest resolution I need to make is to get rid of clutter in my life. My fly-tying bench needs to be cleaned off to where I can actually see the surface. I would love to see the kitchen table cleared of my magazines, books and correspondence. De-cluttering would probably cause me to be less stressed and would enable me to tie that half-dozen flies each day. Who knows? I might even be able to tie some new patterns with all the materials that are hidden in the mess.
One resolution that I really want to make and keep is to be the best version of myself each day. I have been following an inspirational speaker, Matthew Kelly, who advocates being the best version of oneself. I know that I won't ever be able to write a masterpiece like "The Old Man and the Sea," nor will I make a billion dollars, but I can be a person who cares for others, is generous with my talents and treasures, and truly loves the beauty of this world and the people on this Earth.
Happy New Year! May this year bring you happiness, love, and lots of great outdoor adventures.