I played golf with my brother the last two days. That’s a sentence I couldn’t have, at one time, imagined myself writing. But it was on a family beach vacation that he grabbed his sticks and said, “C’m’on, you got to try this. We need something we can do together when we’re old and gray!” Since then, we’ve played in Florida and Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland. He’s good. I enjoy being with him. And I enjoy being outside (I know that most golf courses aren’t environmentally friendly, but they do tend to be gorgeous). We’ve played with various friends of his and mine and with Dad. How often do you get an uninterrupted four to five hours outside in a beautiful setting with people you love?

Not to mention the game itself. I don’t play a lot (four/five times a year), and I don’t practice enough to play better than I do. I’m okay with that. I occasionally dream of investing a lot more time (and thus money) into the game (often when comparing my score to my brother’s!), but for the time being, it remains a dream. I hit a few beautiful shots and enough decent shots not to spend the whole time frustrated.

And the game fascinates me. Physically, it really is about learning just a couple of ways of swinging your club. Then you have those swings to adapt to every particular circumstance—because each setting is different, and specific context is vital to what you do. So, you bring consistency (your swing) to change (the setting) and make subtle changes in stance and grip and swing (make subtle changes within consistency) to honor the context.

Then there are all the strategic options. How far do I want to hit it? Do I want to hit it straight? to the right? the left? (Obviously these are more often than not theoretical questions for me, but nonetheless!) How is the golf ball sitting? What’s the lie (ha!)? What’s the slope of the ground where you’ll be hitting? where the ball will be landing?

You enter each context knowing what you want to do—what you want to accomplish. You enter each context with the skills you’ve worked (more or less) to develop. And you ask yourself, “Now how does all that I know fit into these particulars?”

And then, of course, you have the ongoing, “Okay, that didn’t work out quite the way I planned it! So with my objective the same, and my skills …, what do I do now?”

Not a bad approach, is it? I have chosen my objective. I’ve worked to acquire, maintain, and develop a certain skill set. I adjust within circumstance to honor both my objective and my skills. I can learn from this.

The Wouldn’t-You-Know-It observation: The temperature the last couple days (playing golf) was in the mid 90s and humid. Today, midafternoon (in the office), it hasn’t hit 80 yet!


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