I was going through a rough patch with one of my closest friends and found myself spending a lot of time trying to figure out what was going on and how to deal with it. It was not my happiest moment and I needed to take my mind off the situation. The opportunity to do so presented itself when my mother, sister and one of my uncles started going on fishing excursions. I decided to join them. On the third excursion, while sitting on the jetty in Pigeon Point with a fishing line in my hand waiting for a fish to take the bait, I had an epiphany. I was truly surprised; who would have thought that life lessons could be learned from fishing?!
You must first decide when it is the right time to go fishing. Is it at low tide, high tide, new moon or during full moon? An experienced fisherman would tell you, it depends on the fish. If you want to catch a specific type of fish, you go fishing at the time they are plentiful. Similarly, in my relationship I needed to know when will be right time to talk to my friend. If I want them to respond positively to the conversation, I had to first know if they were experiencing any high, lows or if something changed in their life that might affect how they respond to me. Timing is everything.
As I sat on the jetty watching the hours pass by without a single bite I realized patience was a virtue I did not possess, but needed. Patience is the ability to persevere and maintain composure in situations that necessitate understanding and entails a tolerance for delay. There was nothing I could physically do to make the fish take my bait. I got angry and shouted, then apologized and I spoke in a calm tone and when that did not work, I sought divine intervention through prayer. Nothing… so I waited, and waited and waited some more…but still nothing. In my relationship I have often lost my composure, made hasty decisions and lacked understanding when they did not respond in my time. Things do not always work out when you want it to, but if you remain tenacious, it will with time.
I certainly did not need a hint to figure out that if I had not caught a fish by 2 am, I certainly was not going to catch one fifteen minutes later. It was time to call it a night, or rather a morning. The hardest part sometimes is facing reality. In as much as I wanted to catch a fish, even if it was a really small one, I had to know when it was time to go home. In my relationship, I was faced with a tough decision. Should I stay on the jetty and throw out line with bait over and over until I caught something, or should I call it a night, pack up and return another day when the time was right. I learned that building a relationship is a process. Rome was not built in a day and neither would my relationship.
What did fishing teach me about how to approach my relationship? One, timing is everything. A time that is convenient for me, might not be convenient for the other person and I need to fully understand that. Two, I need to have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with myself. I should not lose courage in considering my own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them. Finally, nothing happens over night and relationships are a process. If I did not catch anything today, I can certainly try another day.
Kennethia Douglas is the Founder and President of the Tobago Society of Young Professionals—a non-profit organization that is providing opportunities to develop professionals of tomorrow. She works full time as a Project Management Specialist and has a bachelor’s degree in Public Sector Management and a Master’s degree in Project Management and Evaluation both from UWI.