Shark Fishing

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I went shark fishing the other night. For those who know me, this is quite a feat to brag about. I hate fish – in fact, I am terrified of them. Even the tiny ones that swim around your feet in the ocean send me screaming. But I went shark fishing. And I survived.

Since I am not an avid fisher, I was taken by the whole procedure. First you have to touch a dead fish (or have someone else do it for you, which is obviously what I opted to do). Next you cast out your line. And then you wait. If you’re like me, you expect a bite immediately but it takes time. It’s a process. You hold on to the hope that something will catch your line. You stand there for what feels like forever and then it happens. A tug at first, then a pull. Next thing you know you’re screaming and throwing your pole at someone to reel it in for you (or maybe that’s just me…oops). All of this waiting and preparation has finally yielded way to something. 

But what about those nights when you don’t catch anything? You stand there full of hope and anticipation, but nothing comes. You have done everything right – the bait, the casting into the sea, the waiting and hoping. But your efforts are in vain. The sharks will live to see another day. Just like in life, you make a decision to make a change and you throw yourself out there and you feel like nothing is happening. You feel like the enemy has won.

Right now I feel like I am in limbo – that awkward stage between waiting and knowing. I feel something shaking beneath the surface, tugging on my line, but I am still unsure. It is this uncertainty, this fear of the unknown that keeps my feet planted on the ground. But my hope is clinging to the thought that someday soon, things will change.

I regret to inform you that I did not catch anything other than seaweed on my great shark fishing adventure. However, I am pleased to admit that I was content with the process. Standing knee deep in the ocean with the stars all around me, I knew deep down that I am right where I am supposed to be – and I am not just talking about fishing at Vero Beach.

Life is about facing your fears and casting out your line, even when you are afraid of what might be on the other end when it’s all said and done. Sometimes it is the very act of initiation that is your reward in the end. There is a magnet that hangs on my refrigerator that I pass by daily. It reads, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Maybe today is the day to take that advice to heart.

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