Smell the Roses

Smell the Roses

“As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round.”

-Ben Hogan

Enjoy the process.

How many times have we heard this clique phrase? I was told this countless times before I truly understood it. When I truly comprehended it, it was as if the railroad switch of my mind had been flipped and onto a direct path to happiness and positivity. Before, I always thought “yeah, yeah, that doesn’t apply to golf though. What competitive golfer enjoys the misery of 10 hour training days only to shoot your highest score of the season? What golfer enjoys the mistrust of your swing on course when going through a grip change? What professional golfer enjoys choking on live television after having a 6-shot lead going into the final round?”

The parts that I always waited to enjoy were the moments that came after those moments, such the pay off of the accumulated hard work when shooting my all-time low of 68, the overall consistency of my swing after weeks of the dreaded grip change or the anticipated win after many disappointing rounds just short of my fingertips. Those were the moments that I lived for in golf, that purely struck sweet spot iron shot, that dollar bill divot, that jubilant feeling of breaking 70 or that completely smashed drive on the 1st tee in front of a gallery. 

Just like in life, I waited to enjoy the moments that were my definition of success, the destination instead of the journey. I enjoyed being in my best tip-top shape and health, but not the resisting of that double fudge chocolate cake after dinner. I enjoyed acing my college midterm, but not the sleepless nights it took to get it. I enjoyed being in a committed relationship, but not the uncertainty of dating and game-playing leading up to it. 

I had it all wrong because I was living for the future, not the present. Mr. Ben Hogan couldn’t have said it better! We only get one round. Instead of hurrying to get to that birdie, pause on your way there and smell the roses. Listen to the birds chirp and the leaves glisten from the morning dew. Feel the slight breeze on your neck and the sun beaming on your face. We will all get there eventually, but unfortunately for some of us, we will get that birdie and be presented with the irreversible realization that we forgot to stop and smell the roses along the way. 

This concept doesn’t just play out in big life moments but in the day-to-day lifestyle as well.

How often do we go on auto-pilot during the day? For me, I am always on auto-pilot in my car, whether it’s to a workout, golf round or errand. Many times, I will have gotten to my destination without even realizing what route I took. Now thinking back on it, I had no idea what my steering wheel feels like or what type of trees are on my daily route. 

I would like to make a declaration now, to everyone. That I will stop to smell the roses, in the fairway of both golf and life. I will now enjoy the determination to conquer a grip change, the excitement of being in contention, the pat on my back I give to myself for choosing to skip on desert and the thrill of the single life. I invite you to do the same. 

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