Recently, we were on vacation visiting family in Vermont and I reconnected with a hobby that I grew up with and around but never really came into my own with until this trip: FISHING. It had been raining all afternoon and things cleared up briefly at dusk. As I looked out over the water, it was still as glass. Beautiful. Peaceful. Quiet. So, like any decent woman who loves and appreciates being near or on the water, I poured a glass of wine and went to sit down at the edge of the lake and soak in the moment. It was stunning. When I saw the third fish jump, something in me jumped with it and I felt connected somehow to something bigger than myself. I felt compelled and couldn’t resist the urge to grab my fishing pole and cast a few lines from the shore. I didn’t think it was a good idea to get in the water as the clouds still looked slightly ominous and rain continued to hang over the evening forecast.

At 8:29 p.m. (a whole 10 minutes after I grabbed my pole), I couldn’t resist wadding thigh high in the lake. At 8:47 p.m., I reeled in the first fish after a two-day dry streak and though this little 10-inch small mouth bass was not the whopper I was hoping for, a certain (unmeasurable) amount of satisfaction came over me as I released him back into the water. As the rain poured down on me during the last moments of dusk light, I exhaled the deepest, purest, most honest breathe I had taken in weeks or months (possibly years). It felt great. It had taken eight days of vacation for me to finally fully unwind, decompress and feel stress free and ready to take on the world again. I felt 100 percent re-energized and somehow that little fish helped me to arrive at that moment of true peace.

I grew up fishing. Our house was on a river and I had several family members who were very dedicated to it. But I never really took to it. I never really felt totally confident in my own ability until recently and even then not connected to it. I didn’t feel confident casting, reeling in, unhooking and keeping the fish alive. I didn’t feel confident in my own ability until this last trip to the lake. I had always had a brother, father, grandfather, mother, boyfriend or husband there to bait and unhook for me. However, the last few years I’ve had to do everything on my own, and (understandably) for some people that might feel overwhelming or scary or exhausting, but for me it has been freeing. I learned how to do so much on my own and OWN IT. Feel good about it. Proud of it. Excited by and for it.

It is an amazing and wonderful feeling to find part of yourself in the most unlikeliest and unsuspecting places. For me, I found part of myself on that night, thigh deep in lake water with a fishing rod in my hands with the rain pouring down on me. Life is full of such amazing gifts and surprises. All we have to do is be open to them.

Candice Herriott was recruited 12 years ago to move to Charleston for her job as a hair stylist, and a few years later she bought...

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