In September 2020, I participated in ‘Start to golf’: a 1,5-hour introduction to playing golf.
Why? On the one hand, several women I knew where doing and loving it. On the other hand, it was one of the things we were ‘allowed’ to do during the pandemic… So, I thought: why not?
I went to the session. It was a beautiful day. It was in the village I originally come from. People were nice. At the end of the session, we were offered a slightly longer formula of the same ‘Start to golf’: 4 weeks, 1 hour/week, in groups of 4 to 6 people. I thought: why not?
After that, another offer came: a ‘winter package’. We would again meet once a week, in small groups (different ones) and there would also be some social events. It would be until the end of March, and if we liked it, in April we could become ‘real’ members of the club. Unfortunately, because of lockdown (number 2, if I’m not mistaken …), the social events were cancelled. We were, however, still allowed to have our lessons, because it was outside and there was enough distance. I went to all the lessons, even when it was dark and cold (and even snowing on a couple of occasions). And I practiced once or twice a week on top of that.
Mid-March 2021, I listened to a podcast, where I was reminded that there are 168 hours in a week. I did trigger me a bit and I decided to further explore this. As a coach, I have a lot of exercises to choose from and I decided to take the balance wheel and to write down, for every category (8), my absolute ‘musts’. Then I wrote down how much time these ‘musts’ would take. It will not surprise you that when I started to add them up, the sum was higher than 168. Clearly there were not enough hours in my week?! Because I couldn’t add any hours to the week, I was forced to examine the current situation. I realised that, because of covid and some other reasons, I couldn’t ‘group’ some of my ‘musts’ and that was part of the problem. I also noticed that golf took a lot of hours. There was the lesson and the practice, there was the one-hour commute, the total was more or less 10 hours/week. Those were valuable hours and… all of a sudden, I wasn’t sure anymore if I wanted to give them to golf. The ‘why not’ had just become a ‘do I really really want to do this?’.
And then I just knew. No, I don’t…
Let’s be clear: I had nothing against golf… but there were other things I would rather do… I liked combining walking with seeing my friends, for instance… And if I had to choose between seeing my friends and going to practice golf on my own … I knew what I would go for.
This clarity gave me a sense of relief.
I knew I was not going to become a member in April.
And it felt like the right decision.
There were still 2 events. A last lesson with the group and then a closing event of the winter package.
During the last lesson with the group, I told the others (all men) that I was going to stop. They all tried to convince me not to do it. I shouldn’t quit. I needed more time. If I got better, I would like it more, etc… I just let them talk.
The day of the closing event was also a beautiful, sunny day. And again… everybody who heard of my ‘decision’ tried to convince me to stay… And to cut a long story short: I went for ‘why not?’ again…
Not only did I become a member, I also took 10 private lessons.
And during summer, I hardly went… I did feel a bit ‘guilty’ for having spent so much money and then not ‘using’ it. Also, some family members and friends kept on insisting I should go more… ‘It’s such a nice sport…’
You’d think that by now I would have learned my lesson…
In September 2021, I was again invited to join the winter package. And while I already knew I was not going to renew my membership… guess what… I talked myself into it!? My motive? ‘If I do the winter package, and it allows me to pass the practical test, I didn’t ‘waste’ the money I paid for the membership… ‘ I paid for the winter package, I went 4 – 5 times and then … I didn’t. There were valid reasons: I had to work, I had to travel… But I also noticed that, when I was at home, and the sun was shining, I was never thinking: how about going to the club to practice a bit?
And it dawned on me that I had to take a decision.
I’m happy to tell you that last week I gave my golf bag to somebody from my group. And it felt good. On Wednesday I gave some other stuff (balls, tees, … ) to somebody else. And again, it felt like the right thing to do.
What’s the moral of the story?
No, it’s not that I don’t like golf. I liked it but I like other things more. No, I’m not upset with the people who tried to convince me to keep on playing. They were meaning well. I am a bit upset with myself for going with the ‘why not’ for so long. For being so easily convinced and for not respecting my gut feeling from March 2021.
But I also learned a valuable lesson: if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a no.
That’s going to become a new motto to live by. There are so many things I still want to do, and so little time.
How about you? Are you still doing something which deep down you are no longer that excited about? And you keep on doing it because… … that’s what you do? … you must finish what you’ve started? … that’s what people in your family do? … you’ve paid for it? … it makes sense (even though it doesn’t feel right anymore…)?
Maybe it’s time for an evaluation?
PS: I’ve learned that having a spontaneous smile on my face when I’m doing an activity is a pretty good indicator.
PPS: I’ve kept a couple of balls and tees to put in prominent places to serve as a reminder … ;-D
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