I work with a guy who is one of those people that just can’t ever sit still or relax. He’s always doing something. He wakes up when it’s still dark outside to go to the gym, probably works a 9 1/2 to 10 hour day on average, goes home to do some kind of household project because he can’t not change things, and when he’s not doing that he’s teaching a spin class at his gym. On the weekend, it’s more of the same. Go, go, go – it never ends. He doesn’t realize it, but he almost always looks stressed – like if he doesn’t do something, things will be amiss. I recently asked him if he ever just sleeps in or if he ever simply takes the time to grab a beer, sit down and do nothing for a little while. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a look of such confusion before that moment.
In one of the most recent conversations, a couple of us brought up some plans to go fishing over the weekend. Again, my co-worker…totally lost. He says “I don’t understand how you guys can go fishing. You just sit there and…” and he imitates casting a line and reeling it in. We all respond with “Exactly” or “Yeah, pretty much.” But the main response was “It’s relaxing. Just sitting by the water, maybe having a beer and just relaxing…not having to think about a thing.” Still…that doesn’t register with him. He responds with “That and golf.”
We all proceed to tell him that he needs to learn how to slow down and relax once in a while or he’s going to have a heart attack in a year. He then attempts to justify it to us by explaining why he doesn’t like fishing or golf. He says of golf, he doesn’t like the sport because he has no control over the ball. Once he hits the ball, he has no control over what happens. He can’t control the wind, the conditions of the course or where the ball is going to go once he hits it. I try to explain that the better you get, the better you can control where the ball goes. I also tell him that the conditions of the course as well as the weather are just part of the game – they can’t be controlled so you work with them. I also try to explain that a good part of the reason I play is because I’m spending time with friends, having conversation and doing something while we’re hanging out. It’s not just the sport itself. My score is secondary.
He goes on to tell me that he can’t understand how the results are secondary. When he bikes or runs, he challenges himself to beat his last time, so he tries to beat himself. That’s relaxing to him. I explain how that’s the same dumb logic that golfers use to try to explain why their game is so unique when, in actuality, it can be applied to any sport. I also explain to him that when you are riding your bike or running, pushing yourself to beat a time, it is not relaxing. It’s competition. No one considers competition to be relaxing. In the end, for him it comes down to control. For a person who tries to play the “I’m not a control freak” card…we finally got him to admit that he, in fact, is.
So am I wrong here? Or is he? Both of us? Neither? My opinion is that golf is completely relaxing! That is, as long as you’re not taking it too seriously. But I get the idea that he wouldn’t know how to NOT take it seriously because he doesn’t know how to just relax. I believe that unless you are playing professionally, or at least competitively, you need to take it down a notch both for the good of your sanity as well as the good of the game. But, more importantly, some of us need to find a way to relax in general – even if it’s not while golfing.
Swing ’til you’re happy!