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What is your ‘Ice-fishing on lake Mendota’? – The Philosophy of: Kenny (in The Last Kiss)

One of the most common regrets of those in the final stages of their life is: ‘I wish I’d lived the life I’d wanted.’

That is, a life based on how you want to live it. Not how society, your family, your friends, your ‘friends’, or anyone else expects you should.

In this scene from The Last Kiss, Izzy tries to convince Kenny to up and leave on a huge adventure across the world. But it’s not because he wants what’s best for Kenny, it’s because he’s not happy with his own life. And not only does he judge Kenny for enjoying something that he thinks is dumb, but he also assures him that if he doesn’t come with him, he’ll not only regret it forever, but it will also gives his life meaning. In other words, take this trip = you’re someone. Don’t take it = you’re nobody.

But Kenny loves ice fishing. If a-ice-fishing is what makes Kenny happy, then a-ice-fishing Kenny shall go. 

So Kenny could either be persuaded by Izzy’s argument that the way he lives his life is shitty/wasteful and yeah, if you say I’m not happy, then I mustn’t be. Or he can say, you live your life how you want, I’ll live mine how I want. Because no one knows what they’re doing anyway (that’s why philosophy is not a ‘thing’ that makes progress), and those people certainly don’t know how others should be doing things. We’re all just working it ourselves.

So what’s your ice-fishing?

Is it travelling for the rest of your life? Is it not having kids because you don’t want any? Is it going to the beach and sometimes throwing the tennis ball for your dog over and over and over and over, sometimes jumping in the ocean and splashing about with no real goal, and sometimes reading, every single day for the rest of your life¹?

After understanding yourself, If it makes you happy, you can change it because it’s not the ‘normal’ way to live life… Or you can keep going ice-fishing. Or whatever your ‘ice-fishing’ happens to be.

¹ Mine.