“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.”

Soren Kierkegaard

It was a morning like any other, except it wasn’t. The three of us, a motley crew of high school misfits, decided to go fishing. Now, if you knew us, you’d know that our idea of “catching something” was more along the lines of catching the latest gossip or maybe a cold, but certainly not fish.

You see, life’s a bit like fishing. You throw your line out there, hoping for the best, but often you just end up tangled in seaweed or, worse, hooking your own finger. And that’s precisely what had happened to our friendship. We were the Three Musketeers of elementary school, inseparable and full of dreams. Dreams that mostly revolved around recess and what was for lunch. But junior high hit us like a rogue wave, and suddenly, we were drowning in a sea of hormones, popularity contests, and the intoxicating allure of the opposite sex.

Each of us, in our quest to be the next James Dean or at least someone who didn’t get picked last in gym class, had taken turns betraying the sacred pact of friendship. There were whispered secrets, backdoor deals, and the inevitable tug-of-war of teenage allegiances. And as if navigating the treacherous waters of teenagehood wasn’t enough, one of us was also dealing with the storm of his parents’ divorce.

But here’s the twist: amidst all this chaos, we found ourselves on a fishing trip one early Saturday morning. Why? To this day, none of us can remember (or agree on) whose brilliant idea it was. Maybe it was the universe’s way of throwing us a lifebuoy. Or perhaps it was just a spontaneous urge to do something out of the ordinary.

As we stood there, rods in hand, waiting for a bite that would probably never come, we realized something. The fish didn’t matter. It was the silence, the camaraderie, and the unspoken understanding that we were in this together. That fishing trip became our peace treaty, our declaration of interdependence. It was the moment we realized that, despite the betrayals and the heartaches, we had each other’s backs.

Sometimes, friendships need moments like that. Moments where you hit the pause button on the inertia of life, just going from one day to the next, and create space to reaffirm what you have in each other.

Fast forward to our 40s, and we still laugh about that day. Not because we caught any fish (we didn’t), but because it was the day we caught something far more valuable: the realization that friendship isn’t just about weathering storms, it’s about growing stronger and more resilient in the aftermath.

And so, dear reader, remember this: life might be clearer in the rearview mirror, but the journey forward is where the real adventure lies. And sometimes, all you need is a fishing rod and a couple of good friends to remind you of that.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.