I sat in the stand this last weekend of the year as well as the last weekend of deer season and it pretty much summed up 2012. As I walked onto my land, which is gated and posted, I encountered three people in orange vest carrying rifles. I approached them and as I did it reminded me of the dangers that one can come on that are not expected, just as I wrote about just a few weeks earlier.
Then on Sunday as I walked to my stand, there were eight atv’s riding around, again on my land. This continued until dark which in turn promised another unsuccessful hunt.
Well, not really. I am an opportunist. I look for whatever opportunities that may present themselves. As the deer were certainly frightened off, over the weekend I did manage to arrow three squirrels. Small game at its finest. Small targets to test my abilities. Nothing wrong with that.
Then on New Year’s eve, I learned my neighbor’s brother had passed in an automobile accident in New York. My sympathy, thoughts, and prayers are and were with her and her family.
The lesson continues. At the beginning of the year there is hope and anticipation. Opportunities may pass and be passed as other larger dreams are waited upon. But there is no guarantee. Just as with my deer season. Just as with my neighbor’s brother. We do not know what will come.
We can plan. Resolutions are common at the beginning of the year, and I am certain as many of you read this column, that some of these resolutions have already been broken. Without planning, without dreaming, we will never experience the things that are life changing, memorable events. While it has been shown above that even with the best made plans, that success is not guaranteed, the best way to not reach a goal is to not have a goal.
This year, I have looked into my planning a little different. Not only will I be planning the big things, I will plan the small things too. It is easy to tell your 7 year old that we will go fishing one day. It is much more difficult to find that ‘one day.’ So I will mark a weekend on the calendar, hype the trip, and watch his eyes glow as we get closer to that date. And, if there is a great day to hit the water before then, we can still go that time as well.
I want to take my oldest son on an overnight float trip fishing for both largemouth and smallmouth. What better way to make sure it happens than to plan it in advance. Well in advance. Not the weekend before. We become one in planning, execution, and hopefully success of the adventure.
My daughter wants to shoot her bow more. I have always had things in the way. It is easy enough for me to get a little practice time on the spur of the moment. It is much more difficult to get practice time for the two of us. We’ll plan it so there are no excuses.
I am going to sit down with my wife and plan a weekend getaway for the family; perhaps another camping trip. We will pick a location, a date, and the activities to surround it. It will be memorable. Things like this always are.
Of course I still have my own trips, my own hunts, to plan. I am working on a couple of books as I type this column that I need photos for. This has to all play into the planning of the new year. I have to look at the seasons that are coming, the expected migration runs, the anticipated breeding times. Without some type of knowledge and planning my goals will not be met. With goals and planning for those goals, I am at least on the right track. There is no guarantee I will be successful or even able to do some of the things I plan. There is a guarantee I will not be successful if I do not at least try.
Set big goals, set small goals, plan for both. Experience 2013, do not just let it slip by. Enjoy it with the people you enjoy.