We’ve all been there. It’s a cold, windy day and you’ve got plenty of things to do that don’t involve freezing to death and trying to calculate wind speed and direction. On the other hand, you’ve got a standing game with a group of guys you love playing with. You know you’ll play poorly if you go, your eyes will water in the wind, and when you hit the ball your hands will feel like you slapped a tree.
It’s stupid to voluntarily subject yourself to misery. But you go, and the whole group is there. Everybody agrees this is crazy, but the game goes on. The golf is forgettable; it’s one of those days you say you’re “working on my handicap”. Everyone threatens to quit several times during the round, but no one takes it seriously. After all, where would they rather be?
Lately the weather has been nasty and I’ve been seeing where I’d rather be. As I write this in the midmorning, it’s 34 degrees, mostly sunny, and windy. The clouds are starting to roll in and it might hit 45 before the day is done. I’ve played in worse, but these days I haven’t been playing as much golf in this kind of weather. I miss the jokes, needling, and, dare I admit it, emotional support of my golf buddies, and I hope they’ll understand why I’m not as reliably there as I used to be. So far, they seem to. In fact, they’re staying warm more often themselves.
I’m rediscovering some things I used to do, and learning some new things. I’m getting more reading done. I’m keeping up a little better with the chores and some things I like to do that often nag at me. Maybe my wife is happier with me when I get those things done, but I probably irritate her by being in the way as often as I help out, so I’m guessing that’s a wash. The feral cats don’t seem to care.
I think I’m trying to see where golf fits in my life. It’s a luxury I didn’t have when I was working – golf had to fit where the time was. Now I could play every day if I wanted to. I even did that for a little while. I missed the rest of my life when I played that much, but I miss golf and the guys if I don’t play enough.
I’m not a natural at golf and my game goes downhill rapidly if my play drops below a certain frequency. If I don’t play often enough I have to adjust my expectations. That was no problem when I always sucked, but now that I’ve played well for a while it’s harder.
It’s a balancing act, and I guess we all reach our own equilibrium. I know some guys who play every day and love it, and I know some others who play once a month and that’s enough. I’m somewhere in between, and closer to every day than once a month. I’ll let you and my golf buddies know when I figure it out.