I am not an athlete. When I was younger I was athletic, but make no mistake, I was not an athlete. I could hold my own in hoops, played baseball for 3 years for my high school and could throw a football, but I knew early on in life that sports would never be more than a hobby. Sports was an outlet for me to learn about rules and morality and systems. A lot of systems.
I didn’t play much golf growing up – some mini-golf here, some pitch and putt there, but nothing serious. Today, I played the first round of golf I’ve played in about 12 years. I was awful. But I loved it. I played 18 holes with 3 close friends and normally we’re super competitive. And by normally, I mean always.
There’s nothing we don’t bet on. In fact, we’ve been known to make up stupid games or have creative bets. One time, I played billiards with a couple friends and the losing team had to walk on hands and knees, backwards, from the pool hall to the car. Or the longest standing bet we have: every year at Thanksgiving, we play football where the losing team buys the beer for the party that follows. At 32, we now play flag football instead of tackle – but only because people now have kids.
Today was different. There was no competition, no ridicule for atrocious shots, no silly bets. Today was about relaxation. For the first time in a long time, I didn’t feel weighted down by work. I went 5-plus hours without thinking about work. Work did not enter my brain at all and when we were on our way home, and I first realized this, a chill went down my spine. (although it just may be the golf bug).
Now, all I want to do is play golf. I am exhausted and sore, but there was something cathartic about being on the greens with friends. No stress, no thinking, just focusing on the swing or the putt.
Today’s round reinforced the idea that we need, from time to time, to clear our minds and just enjoy being on this planet. While I understand games like golf will be, at times, a necessary component to business, I also hope to recapture this feeling of blankness in the future. We work hard. We know we work hard. This means that we have to remember to take a break from time to time.
I may not be able to afford to travel to exotic places every year, but I hope to start taking these little moments of clarity and building upon them. Whether it’s a few minutes a day or a few hours a week, taking some time for yourself is a must. It’s easy to get swept up in the day-to-day minutia of life and forget to treat ourselves every once in a while.
What are some ways you relax throughout the week?