Sunday, October 9, 2016

I Will Feel Better When ...

Now and then it is good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy. (Guillaume Apollinaire)

David Duval was at the top of his golf game in the late 90s and early 2000s, but struggled with many health issues afterwards, and has in the meantime pretty much retired. I was struck when I heard about his feeling of emptiness when he finally won his first major, the British Open in 2001, which also was his last big success in the game of golf. This was going through his mind after he won what he had been after for so long: "When you work so hard and have had so many near misses and then win, and you didn't play that well, it's like, 'Are you kidding? Are you really gonna do this to me?' It's not like I played bad, but of the tournaments I won, that's the one I played the worst in."

While I can't completely resonate with David Duval's reaction to his British Open victory, I too have experienced that emptiness when "success" was finally coming my way. I happened often to me in my work as financial strategist that after an incredible uphill-struggle I finally got the environment I had been anticipating for so long but nevertheless still felt empty inside. Relieved perhaps that the arduous task was done, but it would never have occurred to me to celebrate as the goal itself somehow feels empty. After all, each time I am successful I know that the next marathon session would be just around the corner. David Duval made his choice to withdraw from the game of golf, and I might one day soon move on to something better and brighter too, but the lesson learned here is a different one. Enjoy what you are doing now, even if you miss a few steps along the WAY, for if you are not enjoying yourself today, you never will.

The sentiment, "I will feel better when ..." is an illusion. Charles Dickens starts his, A Tale of Two Cities with, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." That's how it always goes. Life is a magnificent ride when you open up to it. Success is bitter-sweet, just as much as there are many sugar-coded wrappings when you have to swallow bitter pills. Enjoy life here and now, and drop the "I will feel better when ... " sentiment by the WAY-side. Life is always as good or as bad as you make it to be every day.

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