A Message To Every Outdoorsman

“I guess my point is, if you do not make the time, the time will never come. So the car didn’t get washed, or the leaves are still on the yard. For me I have lost way toooo many years trying to find the time instead of making the time. I am sure there were things that got left not done when my son and I did all that fly fishing but I would not give back one minute of that time.”

I stumbled upon this quote about two months ago, author unknown. These words made me take a step back and really analyze the issues with time, or lack thereof, from all perspectives. It’s no secret that my generation, the millennials, have become accustomed to instant gratification. From lightning speed information in the palm of our hand to graduating college and fast tracking it to the top of a company, everything has become focused on the quickest results with the least amount of work and time. Enter bow hunting for whitetails. The most beautiful part about it: time and the lengthy amount it requires for success.

Finding time versus making time

Most information out there today is all about pre-season prep and how it relates to success in the field during hunting season. I believe there is a direct correlation and in turn I dedicate a lot of time every summer to preseason projects such as food plots, hanging tree stands, and checking trail cameras. I’ve chosen a lifestyle that allows the extra time and money to do such things, but that has begun to change this year. With a wedding next spring, a potential move across the country, and other financial obligations, I have shifted towards “work more, play less” and I don’t like it one bit! For those that don’t know me, I have always been all about stopping and smelling the roses, slowing things down, and enjoying every bit of life. Some may think “Dude, grow up already”, but this is the environment I have chose to create and promote. Why am I saying this? To explain that I have gotten a small glimpse of the “I don’t have time” lifestyle, and although I will endure it this year, 2015 has change on the horizon.

When it comes to being too busy, I feel I can understand a lot of the responses and reasonings about not having enough time. I work 80+ hours a week, so basically two full-time jobs. I won’t sit here and say that I understand what it is like to have children, raise a family, or even to be married. What I will say though, is that life wasn’t meant for so much hustle and bustle.

I’ve spoken a lot with a good friend who lives in Bozeman, MT about moving out west with my fiancé for her three year residency program coming up (she graduates from medical school next May). I’m heading out there in September to go on very my first elk hunt with him, and one thing he keeps saying is “just wait until you meet the people here” and “it’s such a different way of thinking out here”. I haven’t been further west than Nebraska since I was a kid, but I’ve spent plenty of time all over the country for my job. Two places that stick out in my mind are Kentucky and Louisiana. Down south, it seems like everyone just takes life a little bit slower. I can’t help but to be drawn to this lifestyle, where time seems more abundant, and everything isn’t so rushed.

Which brings us back to finding time versus making time. You could say they are the same, but let’s be honest and admit they are not. Let me preface this with saying that when it comes to being a new parent, I think you can get a pass. I can’t speak from personal experience, but your children are far more important than hunting or fishing will ever be. I hope that when the time comes, you can make the time to share the passion of the outdoors with them if that is what interests them.

I’ve read debates from both sides of the topic of having enough time, and I can even recognize both arguments within myself. One side will talk about having a family, a career, and general life responsibilities that do not allow for a lot of time to be spent in the great outdoors. Although true, there is another side, which I find myself constantly battling to achieve, saying that if it’s really important to you, you will make the time. Saying you cannot find the time to enjoy Mother Nature is unfortunate. It’s like admitting defeat, giving up, or just giving into the demands of the world. I have been there recently and this is where my disgust for stressful lives and busy schedules comes from. I have seen it consume friends and family members. I assure you, it is no way to live.

I want you to take a second and reflect on some of your favorite memories. They could be recent or from your childhood. Where were you? What were you doing? Who were you with? I’d wager a lot of money that you weren’t at the office. Or watching TV. Or running errands on the weekend. You may also not have been enjoying the great outdoors, but for a lot of us, that is in fact where some of our favorite memories took place. And those places may still be some of our favorite places in the world. Why is that? Maybe it’s because we were on vacation, and got to take a break from real life. Maybe it’s because we were with our entire family, and got to enjoy the company of those we love most. Maybe it’s because when we take a moment to slow down and appreciate all the wonder and beauty and amazement that nature offers, we feel more in tune with ourselves and the world around us. Regardless, there is something to be said for those times when we reconnected with Mother Nature, those times that we remember as our most cherished memories. And I’ll bet you don’t look back on those times and think for one second, “I wish I would have gotten more work done” or that there were other things you “should” have been doing. Because I think deep down, all of us that consider ourselves outdoorsmen or outdoorswomen know that in order for us to be happy and feel fulfillment, we “should” spend time doing exactly what we remember doing in those favorite memories. And when we are all old and gray, we won’t look back at our time outdoors as time wasted. Because that wasn’t just when we were temporarily escaping from our lives — that was when we were actually living them.

So my message through all this is that if your excuse is “I’m too busy”, change it! Take a day off to get back to your roots! Plan your escape, whether it be with your family, your parents, or a friend you haven’t seen in long time. This is what keeps me going through the busy season leading up to hunting season. For me, November will be that escape where I will hunt with friends instead of by myself. We will create lasting memories that we’ll share for years to come. I know I will never look back at the time I spent in deer camp as time wasted. Now, who can help me out with the patience I’ll need to keep my sanity until Sweet November?

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