Because par doesn’t always happen

Sometimes life has a way of kicking your tail and reminding you that you need to slow down and take things one step at a time.

And sometimes it happen when a bunch of things hit you all at once.

I played golf for the first time in years over the weekend—and I do mean years. I had told some guys at work that I was the two-time city league champ back in the day, which is true, but I was in the second and third grades when I won those tourneys. And I was the only girl who showed up, so I sort of won by default both years.

You know that saying, “It’s like riding a bike”? I don’t believe golf is like that—at all.

Let’s pretend this was a phenomenal shot.

I think my rustiness was a bit apparent in my re-debut round of golf. Because of the residual effects of my kidney surgery and the ensuing kidney infection, I was only able to make it nine holes, but that duration was plenty.

And it was definitely enough to provide me a few reminders I really needed.

Golf is a game of patience. It’s not like running or soccer or basketball or football with people hustling fast and diving and driving and expending everything they can to win. It’s different. It’s much more of a slow-paced game, and there’s often quite a bit of waiting involved—whether you’re waiting on other people or waiting on yourself. It’s not always easy to wait on things, especially when you want them to happen when you want them to happen. But that’s not how life always goes. Sometimes you simply have to be patient and take life one stroke at a time.

Golf is also a game of adapting. You can pick out where you want your ball to go each time you swing, but it’s not always going to land where you plan. There are a lot of factors that affect where each ball ends up, and you can’t necessarily control all of them—or sometimes any of them. So when you find yourself in the sand or behind a tree, you have to change your original game plan and somehow still make it work. I feel like this is the story of my life lately—and probably the story of a lot of people’s lives. We can plan out as much as we want, but it doesn’t mean those plans are for sure going to happen. We could end up in the water or overshooting the greens. We could end up in situations or places in which we never thought we’d find ourselves and that make us feel pretty close to hopeless. But somehow, someway, we still have to make it work. And somehow, someway, we still have to believe that we can.

And golf is a game of humility. You might think you’re doing alright, and then you hit one into a creek. You might feel like you’re about to master the course, and then you whiff the ball on the tee. You might think you’re about to sink a putt, and then you add another stroke because you failed to factor in the curve and the uphill. You might feel like you’ve chosen the right club, and then you don’t even get it on the green. Life in general can be pretty humbling, too. Just when you think you have it all together, something you weren’t expecting gets thrown your way—and you simply have to deal with it.

There are so many different courses out there. There are so many different shots you hit. There are so many different situations you face. There are so many different people surrounding you.

And there are so many different choices you have to make.

You don’t get many mulligans in life—instead, you have to hit the shot as is and never look back at what could have been or should have been. You might do really well on some holes, and you might have others that seem to blow up in your face. You won’t always have good days, and you might want to throw your clubs at certain points. Some holes will break your heart and leave you feeling like the next one isn’t even worth the effort. But you have to keep playing, and you have to keep swinging.

Because, even when you don’t shoot par, you might end up having one of the best rounds you never knew could exist.

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