Man, do I spend a lot of time lost. I mean this both literally and figuratively. Literally, I am constantly on my map app making wrong terms and being rerouted. I get lost where I am so often that I allocate time when I travel to the very concept that I’ll end up lost. This state of confusion translates to pretty much every golf course I’ve ever played on. If I’m driving, there is a 100% chance that I will hold up the group after taking a wrong turn; and trust me, it doesn’t matter that I’ve played at the course time and time again.
Figuratively speaking, I’m blindly trying to find my way. My life has turned into one big spiritual quest. At this point, I’m not necessarily looking for answers. I have come to terms with the notion or idea that being lost in a state of oblivion and constantly confused is not such a bad way to live. Spending many moments on golf courses just staring at the beauty of the course and losing my place lends me an existential purpose. Perhaps this is the ‘right way’ to live, as I have had moments of extreme enlightenment; Many would argue that this time of enlightenment was really just one or two big manic episodes or even bouts of hypomania. Regardless, I have come to the realization that being lost is the only real way to be found. I wish I could carry this found feeling with me as it can be intensely powerful, but I don’t know if I will ever reach that state of mind ever again. I might not be supposed to. There is too much life left to experience to have all the answers.
A big part of one’s golf game is to know the shots you have in your bag. The easiest way to explain this is to take a shot on, let’s say, a par 5. You’re looking at a second shot over a pond that is 220 out. Adrenaline and bravado always kicks in on challenges like this. Of course you’re gonna want to get home in two. You might even have the club to reach. However, there is no room to be long and the window of success is fleeting by a larger and larger margin as you continue to analyze. Now there are two schools of thought before you ultimately go for the green.
Before either of the two schools play a factor, you need to know yourself; know your game and know what is actually realistic given the situation. After you have reasoned out the possible outcomes, but before your ball ends up in the water, you need to know what kind of golfer you are, and perhaps, the type of person as well. Are you a person that shoots for a low score, or are you a person that thrives on that one shot a round? I learned to golf with my uncle who lives for that one shot, and so the decision becomes a no brainer. To me, it’s all practice, and I’m happy going for it.
Knowing yourself and knowing how to explain yourself; ie, being able to reason out your existence, or in this case your approach, is paramount to understanding who you are. A large part of writing my book was for self therapy; writing the book was used as a vehicle to explain just exactly who I am and what I am all about. In Plato’s book, The Republic, Plato writes early on about the importance of knowing yourself. I would add that knowing yourself and being able to explain yourself go hand in hand. Knowing your golf game, what shots you have in your bag, and being able to explain why it was worth putting a couple in the water because you had that one hybrid shot that went 240 after you poked it on the screws is just as important as being able to explain why you shot an 83 and didn’t lose a single ball. There can always be victory in defeat as long as you know what you care to celebrate.
Plato’s Republic, if I can remember correctly, also went on to explain how one should never meddle. Many people throw up their arms or red flags when they hear this because they believe Plato is downgrading the importance of trying to become a better person than who you might currently be. It is important to understand yourself and your game. I think Plato is just making a critique on how you shouldn’t meddle in what you know yourself to be. This train of thought, established by ancient Greek philosophy, plays a large factor in my life. I have never had an extremely valuable career path. My jobs have only established the importance of humility and maybe even sacrifice in my life’s journey. I have spent most of my moments on earth picking up on clues but mostly in a lost state of being; still aware of myself, but trying hard to learn what, even if familiar, still feels like uncharted territory. Luckily I have a firm grasp on my own being as I tackle the unknown. I will always be able to find solace in the small victories because I know that those are what is really worth living for. I try not to have plans of defeat in my quest for answers moving forward, but know firsthand that staying humble and having a steadfast will, at the very least, award me small victories despite five or six lost balls every round.
For a person who earlier in this blog post made the claim that I have basically achieved a state of nirvana, I can tell you it doesn’t last; as stated earlier, there is just too much life still to live and learn from. There is, however, solace to be had in knowing yourself and being able to explain who you are in order to have a greater understanding of the bigger picture. Even opposites can have similar perspectives -- It was my ninth grade history teacher and football coach that taught me just how closely related Alexander the Great and Diogenes the Cynic truly were. Both with surprisingly similar dispositions or philosophies, but with completely opposite approaches to achieve peace and find solace in their quest for the ever alluding holy grail that comes with life’s journey. Goodluck, and see you next week!!