With all this church liturgy going on around me I feel I have to confess. On my run. On the golf course. Even while I am sitting here writing my latest epistle. I have been playing with myself. No you slugs and voyeurs. Not that. I have been playing with my mind.
I decided to take a long run yesterday. As those of you who hit the pavement know, the first quarter to a half mile sets the stage for what is to come. Your old bones and muscles loosen up and you begin to hit a pace that is comfortable but not too easy. You want to feel like you are getting something out of this.
But your mind starts to play tricks on you. You know from this point to the park is a mile but man it feels longer today. Does your calf feel tight? I wonder how far I will be able to go? Maybe not as far as I thought. Come on big guy. Push through it.
Then a turn for the better. The “runner’s high” starts to kick in. You know the route by heart so you start thinking about things. The miles click away as you are deep in thought. You make a plan for the day. You try to solve a problem. You try to figure out what the hell you are going to write about later on today. So far. So good.
Then reality hits you. The big turn is coming up. If you go left it’s 4 1/2 miles. If you go right it’s 7. That mind is really playing tricks on you now. Aren’t you tired? Don’t you have things to do? Screw it. You go right and just keep plodding. The last challenge is a final sprint at 6.9 miles. Aaah! I made it but there were several times the result was in question. Now you feel like king of the mountain and not Willy the Wimp.
It’s amazing how many times your psyche works on you during a simple run. It’s even better on the golf course. You get over that shot over the water. You take the club back like you have several hundred times before but something sneaks into your brain. It shorts out every circuit in your body and as you come through spasmodic eruptions occur up and down your torso. You have choked and your ball falls short with an ignominious plop/splash.
Now when tragedy befalls the pro and duffer alike there is an immediate rush of excuses. Did you say something in the top of my back swing? I swear I heard a car backfire. Or maybe it was that gnat farting three fairways away. Otherwise I would have executed the shot perfectly. Ditto the quarterback. Foul shot shooter. Or the hockey shot that goes wide of an open net.
The crazy part is that the situation itself is rather matter of fact. It’s how we react in our mind that creates such incredibly different results. Life does not throw you a curve. We do. And yet people everywhere will try to blame it on someone or something else.
I really believe in the philosophy that no matter what happens in life better or worse is because of a decision you or I have made. I have said it before but in today’s day and age it bears repeating. You lose money on an investment? You made the trade. You are married to a horror show? You said I do. You make a million dollars? Nice choice.
We tend so much to blame the economy, the weather, the sun, the moon and the stars. Woulda’s coulda’s and shoulda’s become a mantra. Get over it. Live moves on. So should you and I. Reality doesn’t suck. You and I just think it does at times.
I have learned many things about myself over these last twenty years. First is I am trying as hard as I can. If it is not good enough for you I am sorry about that. You move on and so will I. I have also tried to set realistic goals. It does not mean I am resting on my laurels but I am also not going to blow my brains out chasing some unachievable dream. Life is too much fun not to just sit down and enjoy it.
Lastly is I try not to take myself too seriously. Most people don’t “know who I am” and that is fine by me. It is actually more fun to be unknown and be my crazy self. I don’t have any standards to live up to except my own.
So Bless me Father I confess. I have been playing with myself. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose. And I am having far too much fun for it to be legal. I hope all of you can do the same.
Ted The Great
The human mind probably processes around 50,000 thoughts per day, 4000 per hour or 65 per minute. Think fast.
Why do you people choke? Researchers argue that the subjects are victims of loss aversion, the well-documented psychological phenomenon that losses make us feel bad more than gains make us feel good . (In other words, the pleasure of winning a hundred dollars is less intense than the pain of losing the same amount.) Don’t think.
In Freudian psychoanalytic theory, defense mechanisms (or defense mechanisms) are psychological strategies brought into play by the unconscious mind to manipulate, deny, or distort reality (through processes including, but not limited to, repression, identification, or rationalization), and to maintain a socially acceptable self-image or self-schema. Think positively