Life in’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be.-Eckhart Tolle
This is just speaking from personal experience, but when I used to be a competitive golfer, I put so much pressure on myself. When I produced a bad shot, I felt such betrayal from my swing as if it had looked dead straight into my eyes and stabbed me in the heart. I remember wanting to throw my golf bag into the lake whenever my swing wasn’t cooperating with me on the range. Every time I missed a 3-footer, I felt like I was slapped in the face. When I had a bad round, it literally felt as if the world was falling apart. Watching my golf handicap inch higher felt like watching my weight increasing on the bathroom scale. I felt so defeated when I would shoot in the 80’s because I had literally the best golf equipment possible! One of the worst feelings I’ve felt was playing an awful round, shooting in the high 80’s, finishing a cold and miserable round, and staring at the leaderboard to realize I was dead last in the tournament. I remember unwilling to leave my room until noon the next day because I would wake up with puffy eyes from crying myself to sleep. It was god awful, miserable and completely deflating that I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy.
Now, I know that sounds absolutely bonkers right? You’re probably thinking, its just golf! Suck it up, you get to be outdoors instead of being stuck in an office, you’re living the dream, it’s just golf. Goddamn, it’s not that serious!
Well, that’s exactly my point. It isn’t that serious. Life isn’t that serious. What seems serious to us in the moment, in the big picture, is just a drop in the ocean. That dissertation you’re having a writer’s block on may seem like everything in the moment but when you zoom out, it’s no different than my frustration at the golf range. When you’re stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and are late for work, it may seem as if life is slapping you in the face but really, its not much different as me missing a 3-foot putt.
I always think about this when I pass by a ‘out of business’ sign on a building. Most of us simply think, “wow, what a shame. I really liked that restaurant” and move on with our day. However, the owner could be going through bankruptcy, selling his home and suffering in his marriage due to financial issues.
When I miss that 3-foot putt or hit a faulty drive, my fellow female golfer competitors continue along their 18 hole journey. No one stops for you, and you missing that 3-foot putt isn’t as serious to anyone else except for yourself. After a bad round, while I’m feeling sorry for myself, the world goes on, the champion of the tournament is out celebrating with her loved ones and the others are back on the range grinding.
What I’ve realized is that life just isn’t that serious. Sometimes we just need to laugh at ourselves when we think our world is falling apart, when in reality, the world is out there.