Finding ways to thrive even when you feel like a fish out of water…

Did you ever try to catch minnows when you were young?

I did. Many warm summer days spent around the Great Lakes were I grew up were filled with attempts to catch the shiny little minnows that darted around my toes in the shallow water.

Any effort to catch them by hand was usually futile, but my cousins had this large net that my sisters and I would each grab an end of and slowly drag back to shore. This usually resulted in securing many schools of shimmering fish. This was all for our amusement and not for food, so typically as soon as they were caught they were released back into the water.

Because water is where fish belong.

In my own life, I often feel like a fish out of water. A desert minnow if you will.

A minnow in the desert sounds like someone who ended up somewhere they didn’t belong.

Equate that to being like a square peg in a round hole, a country bumpkin in the big city, whatever you like. It’s that feeling of being uncomfortable in a situation or a new environment, or perceiving you are very different than the people around you.

Apparently people have related to this concept for hundreds of years since the expression “a fish out of water” was referenced in a poem penned in 1483!

“…a huge man, uncouth; a master of vessel and knew all the ports; not ride well; like a fish out of water as sat on his horse.” – Geoffrey Chaucer

Why do we feel this way? Is it truly because we are out of our natural element and need to return, or is it because the world isn’t ready to accept how unique all of our stories can be?

I am a Midwest girl living in the desert. A transplant. While I certainly am not the only single thirty-something-year-old, with no kids, one woman show around town, my life has looked quite different than the lives of those I grew up around, especially my own family.

Even as a child, back in my natural habitat so to speak, I always felt a little out of place. I had this urge to leave my home state, even my own country, because I wanted to experience something else.

Life is too short and the world is too big to stay stuck in your own pond.

So here I am, a little fish living in the big desert, still unsure if this is where I belong, and somedays even a little uncertain how to survive in what I’ve found to be a harsh world.

There are old rumors that some minnows in desert regions can bury themselves in the sand as riverbeds dry up and outlast droughts. From what I read, this myth has been debunked because fish cannot survive long without water.

Yet, don’t you love this analogy? These tiny creatures are finding ways to survive dry seasons and believe eventually the rain will come.

What if we can do the same, if not more? Can we find ways to not only survive but thrive, even when we feel like a fish out of water?

If we try to figure that out on our own, I imagine it must feel like trying to catch minnows with your fingers. The answers appear so close and attainable, but they are so hard to actually grasp. But by asking for help and partnering with others, you widen your net and ensure a greater return.

So here’s to figuring things out together, knowing you are never truly alone, not being afraid to ask for help when you need it, and trusting that even if you end up somewhere else down the road, you are exactly where you need to be right now.

Keep swimming,


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *