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Manning Up. How to Dodge Life's Lake Flies

Man Up! This really is an underrated phrase. It really speaks volumes and in my mind paints a very vivid picture.  In all things we do....Man Up!  These two simple words scream so many things to me. They scream:  toughen up, give it up, fess up, stand up, wise up, team up, dress up, show up, shut up, keep up, listen up, and on and on and on. The two little words cover a large territory. If we all would take these two simple words to heart, can you imagine the change we would see?

During these rough patches we call "life" we are all called to step it up! If we all take it up one notch, give an inch, do just a little more ...Wow! Can you even imagine the results? Every single day someone says to me, "But what can I do?" Well here's your answer. Man Up! I am not asking you to go adopt; I am not asking you to break your piggy bank and give away all your life savings; I am not asking you to sell your first born; I am not asking you to cheat on your taxes; I'm not asking you to take out a second mortgage; I am not asking you to go without ...all I'm asking you to do is raise the bar one little bitty notch and Man Up. It will not be painful nor is it an impossible task.

The truth of the matter is we are really at war every single day. The enemy ranges from our health to our safety, to social media, to raising your children, to decisions about aging parents, to work related issues not to mention finances, education, household responsibilities and endless other things that are too numerous to list. Yet by doing the simple task of taking one extra step we can win the battle. It's never too late to get started! This minute is spot on. Right now seems to be the perfect time. The war will rage on, but one battle at a time is doable. We all need to up our game.

I know there is some lady sitting there reading this and  saying, "Well why did she say, 'Man Up'? She should have included the ladies." Really?  That's where the shut up comes into play. Sometimes you just have to tell someone to shut up, as rude as it sounds; it is sometimes required. Especially when they start going off about how men definitely did not draw the short straw. They get to keep their same name when they marry and don't have to birth babies and don't have to do this or that ....It was just an expression, ladies, no slight to gender, so don't get your feelings hurt and start pouting on me. Just shut up!

A Lake Fly

Ok, Let me get back on track. I spoke in Oshkosh, Wisconsin last week. As we were on the way to the event we received a phone call from our host saying she needed to inform us that the lake flies had arrived several weeks early due to the warm weather and we needed to be aware and ready. She said we needed a raincoat over our clothes for protection. I'm sorry, but  am not in the habit of carrying a raincoat when it is sunny and 75 outside. Now, I had taken Ms. Sue and Tracy, one of our family assistants with me. The three of us looked at each other very perplexed and said, "What in the world is she  talking about?" It did not take long for us to know exactly what she was talking about. As we pulled up to this beautifully restored building right on Lake Winnebago , we just sat in the car dumbfounded. I thought someone was punking us; it was like something out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie! The bugs were so thick they made a wall. The cars were covered; the columns on the building were black due to these insects all over them. We sat there just staring at each other to see who was  going to make the first move. I sat there just stunned.

I immediately decided I didn't care how charitable this organization was; I was not getting out of that car. Nope not me! I hope they had a lovely event. I would read about it in the newspaper the next day. Then as I looked around and people were going into the building very enthusiastically like the darn things weren't swarming everywhere, I thought we have to Man Up. We needed a plan. We were three intelligent women. We had graduated from college. The plan was to open the door, run like you were in the 50 yard dash, wave our arms like a traffic cop and snowplow right through those pesky booger bears. Seemed logical to me.

So, I looked at Ms. Sue and Tracy and said, "Here we go!"  Tuff times don't last, but tuff people do is all I could think of as we sprinted to the front door. I really wish we had it on video because I took a quick peak at Ms. Sue as we were juking and jiving our way to the door and told her for 30 feet you have to keep your mouth shut; if you open it, it will be filled with these things! That my friends is an extremely difficult thing for Ms. Sue to do. She rolled out of that car like Jolly old St Nick getting to his first house on Christmas Eve to deliver gifts. She had a spring in her step that I had not seen in a long time. It was either them or us, and I was not going to let them win. We dashed and darted. It was a complete out of body experience. Where was the pest control man when you needed him?

When we crossed the threshold, we were all three dying with laughter. Of course you know me, I haughtily looked at the "door greeter" who was acting like she was in Miami and it was sunny and 70 and I said "Y'all need to call the fog truck to come spray and get rid of all these things."  I'm thinking they must not have fog trucks in Wisconsin, but they needed one on this night!  This wasn't the epitome of manning up, but it was my version that day. It was also an experience I will tell my grandkids about. Apparently these flies come out once a year and the coming out process last about two weeks. Once they hatch, or whatever it is that they do, they only live 24 hours but there is a ton of them. I'm sure the fly family said, "Get up, rise up, bug up, fly up, and mess up everyone's day as well as their clothes" because when you squish them it is a green dot that looks like baby poo. You can't make this stuff up!

Day in and day out we have degrees in which we have to Man Up, whether it is dodging the lake flies, being responsible for yourself, putting a veto on bad language and bad behavior, doing the right thing, being on time,  cleaning up someone else's mess, not losing your temper when the person breaks in line, volunteering more, deciding to go back to school to get your degree, running an errand for a friend in a bad spot or babysitting for a neighbor who needs some me time....Whatever the scenario, Manning Up just doesn't mean it has to be front line combat. It's not always a red light stopper. It often can be simple, unexpected, yet still giving of one's self. The lake flies taught me a valuable lesson.

Shake it up! We've been doing what we do for so long that sometimes we need a reality check to make us Man Up! Many times we are on auto pilot and need a little shaking up to recognize the needs around us or recognize what we need to make us happier and healthier. Shaking it up will hopefully make us more productive and get us out of the rut that we are in. I hope you don't have to encounter the lake flies to pry you out of your comfort zone and stimulate you into a new place.

So...last but not least here's to changing it up! Breathe in all this fresh springtime air; clear your head and rise to the challenge. You will then get a Thumbs Up and it will be a win-win situation for everyone!

Photo credit: JonRichfield

Don't forget to  follow me on Twitter @LeighAnneTuohy and play #TuohyTrivia on Tuesdays for a chance to win a $25 donation to the charity of your choice for answering the question correctly. Learn more about my family's charity at The Making It Happen Foundation.

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