on progress over perfection

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golf date3


i’m shawna and i’m a perfectionist.

while my desire for flawlessness sure was helpful in securing an awesome high school GPA, it can also be to blame for so many endeavors not pursued.

the first time i ever picked up a golf club, i was in high school. i accompanied a group of friends to the driving range and humbly looked on as one by one they sent the little white ball flying. clearly i was naive in my thinking as i just assumed i would take to golf as easily i had to tennis as a six-year-old. but with every swing and miss of the tee, i became painfully aware of my lack of innate talent. i wasn’t perfect, far from it actually. and taking the time to reach perfection (or at least proficiency) seemed futile (and expensive and frustrating and humbling and a bunch of other unattractive adjectives). i’d much rather focus my efforts on activities of which i was already skilled. so i stubbornly denounced golf as a future hobby and that was that.

fast-forward over a decade and to the first time S took me to the driving range for another slice of humble pie. thankfully a good twelve years of maturation had seen an attitude adjustment. i was much more open to re-trying the sport based on S’s love for the game alone, but i’d be lying if i didn’t also admit that i was nervous for a repeat abysmal performance. i really didn’t want to disappoint S. thankfully, my first time back with a club in my hand wasn’t a total disaster. and more importantly, i quickly got over my need for instant perfection. if i was going to grow my golf skill set, it was going to take time. not only that but lots of consistent practice and even more self-grace. at the end of the day i had to remember why i was even embarking on the new hobby at all -it wasn’t so i could become the next lady version of jordan spieth, it was a declaration of love to my boyfriend. i was embracing something that was important to him and adopting it as my own. and once i made that my mantra, i could refocus my efforts toward progress not perfection.

golf aside, i think this way of thinking applies to most everything in life. i try so desperately to be the best at everything i do, but the truth is, i’ll never be perfect. and neither will my golf game. but that’s okay. what matters are the strides i make toward becoming better than i was yesterday. maybe that means working a little harder, being a little more patient, and loving a little more selflessly or as it pertains to golf — a few more balls hit than missed at the driving range. 

before the rain hit yesterday, S and i managed to make our fourth appearance at the carlsbad golf center. i find it no accident that after i relinquished my pride at pursuing perfection, i had my best day yet. with my trusty 9-iron in tow, i was hitting balls right along with my fellow range goers -most of which were of the male persuasion. every so often, S would pause from his own tee to turn around and watch me. i could feel myself clam up with his extra set of eyes on me, but i tried to relax, take deep breaths and mimic what i had done before i had the pleasure of gaining an audience. about halfway through our bucket of balls, i could feel a shift. suddenly, i cared very little if the ball went five feet or two-hundred and five feet. it was a beautiful day, i was with my favorite person in the world, and we were truly enjoying ourselves. the ironic thing was, the less i cared of whether i hit a winning drive, the better i seemed to do. while certain sessions at the range had left me stiff and downtrodden, this most recent visit left me grinning from ear to ear.

i know like most anything, golf is a fickle sport. one good sunday could very well be followed by a string of not-so-good ones. but i will take heart in the fact that every trip to the range or precariously played twilight round is another step toward progress. and better still, each venture is just another reason for S and i to spend quality time together.

1 Comment
  • Andrea Culver
    July 21, 2015

    Maybe there is a PA club! Tops laughed when I read the first line. We are glad you are enjoying golf!❤️

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