Do Something That Scares You…and Other Misadventures

Photo by flickr/dherrera_96

Lately, I’ve been trying to abide by the adage “Do one thing every day that scares you.” And I’m not talking about jumping from moving trains or trying to pick up a rattlesnake or anything heroic—just little stuff, like striking up conversation with a stranger or trying something new (even if that means making myself look stupid, which it usually does).

Today, my scary thing was going to the driving range by myself. Granted, I haven’t been on a golf course in at least four years—and I’ve never even been passably good at hitting golf balls (more like hitting up clods of dirt instead of golf balls). But all my friends were at work, so I figured, why not? I even thought about riding my bike there, but that would make it two scary things in one day, and I didn’t want to get ahead of myself.

When I arrived at the City Park Golf Course, it was perfect outside: blue skies, sunshine filtering through dense tree canopies, the smell of cool, wet grass and the muffled whir of golf carts. I should have taken a picture. After asking for directions to the pro shop and figuring out where the driving range was and where to get my bucket of balls, I settled into a spot that was fairly far from the one other person at the range.

I lined up my first ball, tried to recall some distant memory about swinging evenly and following through, and WHAM!!!! My ball went flying into the small, metal partition between teeing stations, ricocheting back toward me. Embarrassed, I whirled around to see if the nearby golfer had witnessed my mishap. “Are you okay?” he shouted over to me. “Oh, I’m fine, thanks!” I responded back with a wave and a pained grimace friendly smile. Breathe, I told myself. Just relax. This is fun. After a few more attempted swings (which I believe some people would refer to as “slices” or “into the trees”), a passing jogger finally yelled to me, “Bend your knees!”

Ah, sound advice, thanks. It seemed so simple, but I couldn’t believe what a difference that made. Don’t let me fool you—I was still terrible—but after that, at least some of my golf balls went straight ahead, even making it to the 150-yard line. When I left, I actually felt kind of proud of myself, despite the fact that I was irrefutably awful. And maybe that’s progress—taking myself out of my comfort zone just long enough to accept that I’m not going to be amazing at everything. Just most things.

Know Before You Go: A small bucket of (approximately 35) balls costs only $4. And they even let you borrow a club for free—they just hold your I.D. until you bring it back.

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