The last couple of years I’ve begun to realize that I have to make the choice to not pursue an interest. I have a wide variety of interests, but I can’t pursue them all—at least not if I want to progress with any of them. I have, for instance, stopped playing video games and I watch much less tv than I used to. I now devote more time reading and writing.

I say this after a couple of rounds of golf, including a grueling five-and-a-half hour 18-holer yesterday with a couple of friends. I came away from that game thinking, “Well, there’s X hours I won’t get back.” I don’t regret the 18 holes yesterday—I enjoyed myself thoroughly (4 golfers is more fun than 2, but significantly slower)—but it was a lot of time, money and effort for relatively little reward in terms of quality of play and score. I usually end up frustrating myself to the point of it overshadowing the game and its environment (golf courses are always nice settings).

Because, you see, I’m not very good at golf. I started golfing about 4 years ago and made strides along the way, but I’ve come to a point similar to terminal velocity: my game won’t get much better than this. To significantly improve at golf, I need to play several rounds each week, if not every day. Having a family and a limited budget alone doesn’t allow for that kind of commitment, never mind work, housework and my myriad other recreational interests.

I bought a set of new clubs about 2 years ago, which in a way makes me feel obligated to keep playing. But golfing is also a good way to spend the afternoon with the guys, because guys don’t seem to get together for parties and whatnot the way that women seem to (how many Pampered Chef/Party Lite/Mary Kay/etc. parties have the male readers of this blog had? I would wager none). For recreational golfers like myself golf is a social game as much as anything.

I’ll probably continue to play simply because my friends play. But I have to make the choice to not worry too much about improving my game. In fact, yesterday around hole 15 or 16 we stopped keeping score, which was quite liberating in a way.

I can’t do everything I’d like to do, particularly if I want to do those things with any amount of skill.  It’s much too late to set my eyes on professional golf, anyway.

4 thoughts on “Choices

  1. Simon

    I have been to a Party Lite party (several, in fact), but only because I was towed along to one with my wife, and we (ahem… she) has hosted a couple at our house. Never mind the inundation of Stampin’ Up stuff that constantly orbits around the Fraser household.

    If it’s any consolation regarding the golf, I took part in a friend’s 30th birthday golf trip to Vancouver Island a couple weeks ago, keeping in mind I haven’t shot a ball since the company tournament in June of last year. Our last round on the Island was at Bear Mountain (designed by the Golden Bear his very self) and I racked up a startlingly impressive 139 strokes.


    I don’t think I’ll make any effort at taking up the game either…

  2. Jay

    Marc, I came to the same conclusion as you a while back. My video game playing has plumetted and I have little use for most of TV (The Food Network is just great!). Certainly I have my favorite shows, but I tend to download them commercial free and watch them as I do other things either on the computer or paperwork on the desk. When I become addicted to a game I was ‘just trying’ or become occupied with some other frivolous activity I usually feel just as you expressed, X number of hours gone.

    I wouldn’t say that about your golf because social time and exercise is worth it right there.

    At the start of my fruitless activity purge I also found myself interested in too many productive hobbies and none really grew. I’ve shaved that down to my two favorites, cooking & photography. My wife appreciates my cooking very much and I enjoy it a lot. And my photography always gives me enjoyment and exercise and I love technology.

    Those are my thoughts on what appears to be a similar situation… well, I suppose I don’t have the children like in your equation. 🙂

  3. Don Hendricks

    I love golf. During my 30s I could shoot low 80s, in my 50s Ive lost 10 strokes. The feeling of hitting a good shot keeps me coming back, but I too feel the time and cost are high. I love taking pictures, reading, and just this summer took up playing the Irish Simple system whistle. Hooking up with that crowd and playing new songs has been surprisingly rewarding as the instrument allows you to do real music without a huge learning curve. I made a vow several years ago never to watch reality TV, it was liberating and has shrunk my TV to Lost and CSI.

  4. Chris

    I’m pretty much in the same boat: very little, if any, video games. TV watching is relegated to my favorite shows that I download and watch at my convenience. I golfed on the weekend and though enjoyable, took out a huge chunk of the day. That was 18 holes. I really prefer 9 hole short courses for social activities.

    And like your new set of clubs, I bought a mountain bike earlier this summer that I love to ride but with family and life in general, just don’t get on it as much as I was hoping. It’s become an obligation but I’m finding more and more people out here that like to ride. Mountain biking for me has become a social activity which balances the weight of obligation.

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