Fishing for What Matters


tackling problems

Urgency Day 184

500 Things Items #313-14: Boxes of Fishing Tackle

  • History: Left behind by fishing family
  • Value: I prefer crabbing to fishing
  • Parting Pain: Shipping fees
  • Un-possessing: Shipping back to fishing family

When Neil Armstrong took his small step/giant leap onto the lunar surface, my grandfather fretted.

“They better not mess with that Moon.”

It wasn’t that my grandfather doubted that people had landed on the Moon. From his perspective, it was far worse. Contrary to what conspiracy theorists spin, he knew we actually had, with little more than slide rulers and gumption, sent humans to the Earth’s moon. But Granddaddy was a fisherman. The Moon matters to fisher folk.

Don’t mess with stuff that matters.

Yesterday, I got a lovely message from one of my best friend’s mom. Brigid told me she admired my project and wished she had the “gumption” to downsize. But emotional attachments to her things were preventing her from decluttering.

Gumption: That’s a great word I hadn’t heard in a while.

There’s an implication of spunkiness in the word gumption that I would enjoy being associated with. My decluttering efforts contain an undeniable element of calculation and hardheartedness.  I wrestle with that. When your project includes downsizing:

  • A miniature replica of your dead dog given to your husband by his also-passed mother;
  • Your own mother’s second wedding frock;
  • Your child’s toys (especially anything cuddly with glassy eyes that look at you beseechingly);
  • Copious artifacts from the glory days of high-impact entertaining with friends;
  • And,  apparently, ANY book:

well, you seem to be open to accusations of ruthlessness. But spunkiness! Spunkiness seems to fly in the face of ruthlessness. Would you accuse spunky Laura Ingalls of being ruthless? Anne of Green Gables? Eilonwy?

Spunk matters. Stuff doesn’t.

That’s my message. I want to be the spunky heroine of my own story. Spunky heroines travel light and get the job done. They are resourceful in a pinch, sensible, and not afraid to speak their minds. They know what matters.

Gumption. Spunk. Adventures to the Moon.

That’s what I want.

I’m working on the traveling light.


4 Responses to “Fishing for What Matters”

  1. boysgonewild Says:

    If the family who left those lores with you doesn’t want them, let me know. Matthew would die a thousand happy deaths to have a box full of fishing lores. That boy can get his fish on.

  2. sthibeault Says:

    No dying Matthew! And not too many dying fish, I hope! Though throwing back the caught fish with hooks and hook holes and hook trauma always kind of freaks me out. But we don’t have to tell Matthew about that. (I’m excited he would want it all– it’s a lot of stuff. Does he want the pole, too?)

  3. I can totally see you as the spunky heroine in her own adventure story. Hope you have room for gooberish guy to hang out with you.

    BTW, since I’m in Vegas, I thought I’d get a tattoo. What do you think about something like “Spunk Matters?”

  4. melanie Says:

    “Spunky heroines travel light and get the job done.” That’s a campaign slogan; or at the very least a bumper sticker or Tee-shirt. Loved your funny metaphors.

    In the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” the author talks about when you feel lost and don’t know what to do next, it’s because you ran out of gumption. With that said, I’m going to go get my gumption on!

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