Well, it looks like I’m nice and set up for failure.
This sort of thing happens whenever I think I have a grip on how things work. Understanding is fleeting as is mastery or even competence.
It’s not that I’m a pessimist. Quite the opposite really. It’s also not that I can’t enjoy the moment. I just understand the undulations of life. To further clarify, the context in which I use the word “disaster” is such that it almost cheapens the meaning of the word. It’s overly dramatic, used for comic effect, not out of self-absorption or sadfishing.
My disaster will be something like forgetting my bow release, or spooking a deer, because the last two weekends, I have taken a deer. A two-week streak.
“You’re on a roll, Lund.”
Yeah, I am, and it’s pretty sweet. I feel like I have learned, that I have figured something out, that I may have ascended to the next level of hunter. I figured I was somewhere around Advanced-Novice or Beginner-Intermediate, maybe even an Intermediate-Intermediate. There’s a long way to go before I reach the three levels of the Advanced Stage, but I’m making progress.
My recent success has come on the heels of a resounding failure in Wyoming. I was close on a few antelope, but cows, private property, wind or something foiled my efforts and I returned meatless. It was only a $34 tag, but still.
By a results-based standard, it was a disaster, but how could I call hunting with my girlfriend a disaster? I’d have to be a real piece of work to make that claim. That’s the key in being able to navigate the ebb and flow of life. Context. Perspective. Optimism.
I used to be terrible at this. I threw little tantrums. I am not immune to them now, but the likelihood of me becoming a woe-is-me pouty brat when things are bad is dramatically reduced and rather than be the ungrateful, pessimistic, unappreciative drag even when things are good, I am in a better position to enjoy the ride.
So, what will it be that gets me off this hot streak?
In the last year, I’ve put $6,000 into a vehicle that Blue Books at $4,800, so it probably won’t be that. Well, never mind, it sure could be. I figured after the transmission, brakes and rotors, I was good for a little while. Nope. Bearings and ball joints were next on the menu.
Will I miss a buck? Not see one? Will the rain continue until June? Maybe. But right now, this moment, life is good.
I know intellectually that things will level or dip, but that’s not something to worry about. Because just beyond whatever it is, will be another rise.
If you see yourself as a protagonist, and all of us should, then we know that the protagonist in a good, interesting story has to endure conflicts. A story without conflict isn’t one worth watching because it’s not realistic.
So, I try to keep the highs high (but not too high) and the lows, medium.
• Jeff Lund is a writer and teacher based in Ketchikan. “I Went To The Woods,” a reference to Henry David Thoreau, appears in Outdoors twice a month.