Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks

Last weekend I went golfing.  For the first time.  In my life.  (We all agree that putt-putt doesn't count, right?  Thought so.)  And it actually wasn't a disaster.  In fact, it went really well.

Antonio, my mildly golf-obsessed boyfriend, had been talking about teaching me to golf, and I was game.  First, he took me to a golf shop and got me a few used clubs -- a driver, a 7 iron, and a putter.  Then, it was off to a golf club to practice driving, chipping, and putting.  I'll admit it was a little intimidating to learn something brand new, that most people either know by 30 or simply never pick it up.  I felt silly having to receive multiple instructions on how to hold a golf club, knowing at least a couple of the "good old boys" who'd been golfing for longer than I have been alive were watching to see how I'd fare.  There were a few embarrassing shots, sure, but a few good ones too, and I enjoyed the challenge of putting together all the tidbits of instruction Antonio was giving me -- "Keep your head down," "Turn your body more," "Keep your elbows straight," etc.

After spending about an hour on such instruction and practice, we took a lunch break and then headed to the nearby Par 3 course.  We played all 9 holes, Antonio coaching me through each one with great patience and encouragement.  At first, my drives were good but it took a while to figure out how hard to hit the ball on chips and putts (the first couple holes I chipped back and forth over the green multiple times).  Then, I struggled with my drives for a while. When I was able to do all the right things with all the different parts of my body for each type of swing, I managed to get in some decent shots though.  In fact, on the last two holes, I got bogeys (shooting 4 on a Par 3).  I don't think that was too bad for a first outing!  More importantly, I had a great time and it's something I look forward to doing again.

For someone who's been through what I have, finding a new hobby -- especially one that previously seemed daunting -- is really exciting.  I feel this way not just about playing golf, but also about yoga and kayaking, hobbies that are also new to me since Brian's death and my relocation to Texas.  To do these new things and incorporate them into my life is like a rebirth, a whole new part of me awakening that never existed before. Enjoying new things shows me that, despite losing Brian, I can grow, thrive, discover new things, and enjoy a life that is different from the one I had before.  I'm really free to be anyone and anything I want to be right now -- I can do anything I want to do, regardless of whether I've ever done it before.  I've come to a pretty awesome realization:  It's not too late for this old dog.  


  1. The more and more I read about this guy, the more I like him. I feel like I've said that before, but that's not a bad thing, I guess! He was obviously patient with you in teaching you golf, and when a man can teach someone anything with patience and kindness and encouragement, that speaks VOLUMES about the kind of person he is. It also says a lot about what kind of dad a guy will be. Not trying to create your future for you here; just sayin', because I'm impressed with a guy who wants to help you learn something but keeps it fun and light. Not all guys are capable of that. A lot of them just get frustrated when you can't do it right, which only makes you fumble that much more. Add that to the fact that he is respectful of your life with Brian and isn't in the least bit threatened by that presence, and I call this guy a winner.

    I'm thrilled over your happiness, and I think your willingness to do new things and be happy again is a testament both to your inner resolve and to the love and joy Brian instilled in you.

  2. Thanks for your latest comments, Jen. It made me feel better to hear your own hair story! Also, I agree with those things you said above...I am very impressed that my new guy can teach me something! It does say a lot about his character. I like to think it helps that I've grown up and mellowed out a little and can take advice and instruction better than I used to be able to, but I know it's 90% him! :) Finally, I'm really pleased to see your last comment about the love and joy Brian instilled in me -- that makes me so happy to see from you, because you didn't know him. If you can see that from what I've written, then I've done a good job of showing the world who he was with this blog, and I'm humbled and pleased by that. That's one of the things I was hoping to be able to do. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Oh, yes, it positively shines through. It wasn't just something I said to make you feel good. I do feel like I know him in a way from reading about him and your life together. I feel like I know you especially somehow, and whenever I read your blog, I mean this in all sincerity...I beam with pride.