Dad Advice: Happiness Isn’t Acquired by Acquiring

Happiness Isn't Acquired by Acquiring

I’m working on our Christmas card photo today.

Sitting in my office here in Illinois.

Inside.

A nasty chill is seeping off the windows, fighting the heat. It makes the floor cold. Too cold for bare feet. I was up this morning well before the sun, and the sons. I started the day by reading through all of the articles & updates that went live throughout my last Political Detox session.

I need a refresher. After the confusing midterm results, I’m frustrated. Cold. Discouraged. Run down… and here comes winter.

I hate this time of year.

The weather, combined with an overall feeling of “what the crap is going on in this country?!” will do that to a man.

The news always seems bad. The country (and our countrymen) are always in some sort of conflict.

24/7 drama.

It’s exhausting.

You might feel the same.

From time to time it’s nice to get a little reminder about happiness.

Earlier, as I was forcing myself to work a bit and clean my email inbox, an article came through from a new site that I am following called All Pro Dad. (I recently subscribed to their daily emails because I’m a firm believer that it never hurts to consider suggestions from other parents.)

The title of the article?

5 Subtle Lies You’re Telling Your Child About Happiness

It’s a short read, and a good one. To paraphrase, the author reminds us that we need to be careful our children don’t think that happiness is controlled by other people, or that it comes from money. We need to teach them that happiness is in fact essential, and for many it’s not something that they find, but something that comes as a result of what they do.

All good points worth thinking about, instead of grumbling about the cold weather, amongst other things…

*sheepish grin*

Something struck me though… the final point was that [It’s a lie to think that happiness is] acquired by acquiring.

Ah! How very minimalist of you!

It’s a good reminder to pause and make sure I don’t allow myself to fall back into the old winter habit of buying every fishing product I can get my hands on in an attempt to take my mind off of the fact that I’m bummed out and stuck inside.

To fill the void.

That won’t make me happy, and it sure won’t make me a better fisherman.

Illinois Creek Fishing Smallmouth Bass Raining Rainy Poncho Overcast Cloudy
The big smallmouth caught on this chilly afternoon were the result of new locations – new strategies – not new STUFF!

Make Sure You Don’t Go Back to Collecting STUFF

You’re thinking, “but AJ, your most recent article REVOLVED around stuff!

Ay, it did. It also served as a warning to readers (don’t mimic my mistakes) and was meant to be a means to an end: I need to upgrade the batteries that power the jon boat before I get stranded or hurt.

(A YUGE special thanks to all of you that donated! We are well on our way to upgrading the compromised batteries…)

Dont Be Stupid It's Dangerous to Fish with Underpowered Boat Batteries
Don’t Be Stupid It’s Dangerous to Fish with Underpowered Boat Batteries
“You can’t catch fish when you’re pushing up daisies. Mother Nature is not someone you want to test. Whether you test her by wading a frosty creek in frigid temperatures wearing shorts in the rain, or by heading out on a very windy day on a lake that only allows electric motors, relying on compromised boat batteries. I’ve done both in the last week…”

A Minimalist Fisherman is still a Fisherman.

Fishing requires equipment, and that equipment needs to be maintained, upgraded, replaced… but not collected.

Never collected.

Never piled up “just in case”.

Items without a purpose must be avoided, or let go.

There is a balance.

Make space, so you can think clearly.
Make space, so you can focus on technique.
Make space, so you can learn more about the behavior of your prey.

The happiness is in the doing. The improvement. The successes, and yes – even the failures.

Lord… if you’ve visited this site more than once, you know there have been failures… they’re not hidden away. That’s by design. They’re public, and a big part of the process.

This morning, I was failing. Focusing on what couldn’t be done. Feeling sorry for myself, and feeling like I was going to slip backwards into old habits…

During the summer months, fishing makes me happy. It’s a good way to escape the craziness of everyday life. A calm lake surrounded by birdsong in the morning. A cool, shady creek with water running past your shins in the afternoon… it doesn’t get much better than that… but it isn’t the ultimate source of happiness.

What is?

aj hauser family minimalist fisherman 2022
Happiness.

Yeah.

My faith, and my family… OH! – that Christmas card photo… I better get back to working on that…

We all have something to be grateful for, no matter what is going on around us.

Find it.

Seek happiness, but remember: happiness is not acquired by acquiring.

Tight Lines & Godspeed, Patriots.

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