August 26, 2012

So I tried golf (and I actually like it!)

I’ve had pretty much the same hobbies since I was a teenager: reading, writing, cooking, working out, and the occasional design or arts-and-craft project.  These things have become so much of a fabric of my life that they don’t even feel like hobbies anymore; they are just what I do.  I had reached a point in life when I had met many personal goals and realized that as a result of that, I was beginning to feel listless and a little bored.  This is a time when some may decide to have a baby; I decided to take up a new hobby.  

But I didn’t want to pick up just any kind of hobby just to pass the time, to numb the everyday challenges and/or monotony of life.  I wanted something I could really sink my teeth into, to be challenged by both physically and mentally; I wanted a project that I could never quite master yet still be fulfilled by, which would stimulate me for a long time and add to my already pretty fantastic life. 

As much as I like a challenge, I had to be honest with myself about one thing:  I am a creature of comfort.  I knew that whatever new hobby I picked up had to mesh well with my need for that comfort, convenience, and physical and mental stimulation.  I also didn’t want to pick up a new hobby only to give it up. 

Golf was something I never even considered until I moved within two minutes of a golf course, and then I realized that whenever I drove by and gazed at the course the people there seemed like they were having a great time, walking the course and hitting balls in a beautiful setting either at dawn or at dusk when I happened to be driving by either to or from work.  Truth be told, I actually used to think that golf seemed like a rather boring, passive, corporate-y kind of activity.  [Sidebar: It’s funny how perspective changes everything.  This is something I am learning time and time again in life:  you have an opinion about something and then the minute your perspective changes, boom! that opinion is immediately subject to change.  It makes me think that someday I may actually like the taste of wine!  We’ll see.]

But hanging out in a beautiful setting isn’t all there is to golf, so I knew that I was going to have to swing a club once or twice before I made the decision to give the sport a shot.  (Bear in mind I had never even held a golf club before, and playing mini golf a few times in my life doesn’t count.)  Thanks to a coworker who was willing to lend me an old set he had, I was able to give it a trial run, so out I went to the driving range to hit a couple baskets of balls. 

The first time at the driving range, the majority of times (that I even hit the ball) barely exceeded a distance of 25 yards and had no lift whatsoever.  And guess what?  It was still fun!  I liked it, even though I was horrible at it.  (A good sign for me.)  The next time I practiced in my backyard and got more lift, though not much more distance.  The third time I had a lesson, and wacked it higher and straighter and in the range of 75 yards.  It felt great.  But then a week later I had another lesson with a different coach who taught me an entirely different grip, showed me that I needed to straighten one arm and bend the other, and had me doing drills that didn’t even involve hitting a golf ball, and I was back to square one.  

I'm learning that golf is not only physical, but an extremely technical and mental game, and I knew if I had any expectations from myself I would easily get frustrated.  So going into it, I gave myself one rule:  "Thou not having any expectations of thyself."  I told myself that having no expectations  would be a good experiment for me and that “being bad” at something for an undeterminable time would teach me to let go of unreasonable self-expectations, because success comes not from simply being naturally gifted at something, but from putting lots and lots of time into it.  

So, that’s my new baby:  learning golf.  A few weeks in and I’m outfitted with new clubs, a couple lessons, a cute skirt, and absolutely no skill or talent, and you know what?  I am pretty mother effing excited about it.    

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