Here goes, Tom.
What do you do when you’re sitting around waiting for the phone to ring or for an email to drop with details of upcoming work? If you’re self-employed AND like me, you sit worrying, worrying that the phone won’t ring or that email won’t arrive. Worried that all of a sudden your business has fallen flat on its backside and you’ll have to head out into the real world to get a “real job”. A job that has you working weekends, night shifts, or long hours, not earning enough money to pay the bills and put food on the table for your family. You’re a bread winner, a father, a husband and a leader, it’s your responsibility to be the best you possibly can be in all these fields, and avoid disappointing the people who mean the most to you. I quite often wake up way before my alarm and lay in bed feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, especially when my work goes through extensive quiet periods, unable to get back to sleep, my heart beating out of my chest through blind panic and anxiety. It’s a problem, I know it’s a problem, and I’m not scared to speak about it with people (thankfully, as it’s out in the open now!), but do they really understand what it feels like? What it feels like to be constantly doubting situations, friendships, your marriage, even remarks made by people that you read WAY too much into and build these small, seemingly meaningless “issues” up in your head to the point where you can’t stop thinking about, what you feel like, will be a negative outcome? I believe that it’s called anxiety although I’ve not had that confirmed by a professional. I just get on with life and try to manage it to the best of my ability and not let it bother me more than it needs to, although sometimes that’s easier said than done. At what point do you stop talking and start doing something about it?
One of my best friends came up with the idea of blogging to keep me occupied whilst my business was a bit quiet. He’s an interesting character and someone I confide in almost as much as my own mother or wife. He’s honest, to the point and always diplomatic, despite how annoying that can be when you just want him to be on your side! He has many of the same interests as me, supports the same football team, enjoys playing video games, loves watching a bit (OK, a lot) of American football and in the last few years has also decided to take up one of my absolute favourite past times. Golf. He’s inspired and helped me on so many occasions in the decade or so that I’ve known him, but is probably completely oblivious to the vast majority of examples, like this blogging idea for instance, I was just ranting on twitter about my work and how I needed a change and would love to do something I’m interested in like golf, football or gaming, he came up with the idea to get writing. Deep down, work is probably the cause of my anxiety issues so indirectly he’s helping me fight my demons so his idea won’t just keep me occupied during those quiet periods but also help me take my mind off things, or is that just me over thinking things again? Maybe he knew that I was struggling mentally at the moment which is why he gave me the push to blog? Oh how the mind boggles!
Anyway, I like to think I’m the reason he’s shown an interest in golf, and that golf, in a way is me repaying him for all his help over the years. As he’s quite an intelligent person (said through gritted teeth) it also gives him something to ask me advice on which makes a change and stops the one way “advice” flow, although I must admit (as he’ll more than likely point it out), he doesn’t ask my advice as often as you might think. If you’re a golfer, you’ll know the pleasure and feelings of self-achievement that golf can bring to you, but also the untold heartache and expense that he’ll have to endure at the same time. So, maybe I should feel a bit guilty about getting him into the sport I love? The positives definitely outweigh the negatives….I think.
By now, you know a lot more about me than I know about you, unless of course you’re one of my few friends who enjoy browsing the internet for random stuff to read during “work” or one of my “friends” or “followers” I’ve forced to come over from social media to read my first blog. So why am I writing this? Why am I coming on heavy with the dark, mental side of life? I suppose, it’s more for me if I’m honest, and to put me in the right frame of mind to put myself out there into the world of blogging, reading that first paragraph back to myself is highly motivating for me. As mentioned, when work is quiet, I struggle. End of. So, I’m going for it, I’m taking Tom’s advice and I’m going to write a blog. He told me to write about what I’m passionate about, so low and behold, I’ll be mainly blogging about golf. You’re constantly bombarded by professional golfers and ex professionals and their highly respected and very insightful opinion on this, that and the other, but what about being a handicap golfer and a member at a regular, run of the mill golf club in mid Essex and not Pebble Beach, St Andrews or The Els Club, however nice that might be. What about amateur competitive rounds where you’re playing for a fiver in the weekly roll up or for that all important handicap cut, the numerous lessons I have with my awesome pro who is helping a once 17 handicapper get their handicap as low as possible (I’m currently playing off 15). My thoughts on televised golf tournaments, various purchases I make and generally anything and everything in MY golfing world, maybe with the odd random post here and there that may go a bit off topic.
Where this blog takes me, I don’t know, but I’m optimistically excited about it. I’m not a journalist or professional writer, I did get a C in media studies at school but that’s about it. I have never really written anything like this before and to be honest, I don’t know if it will succeed, it may bore everyone and not get any views, heck, it might even bore me! If it helps my game, great! If it helps me clear my head and become a little bit more “normal”, brilliant! If it gets read by more people than my family and the odd friend, cool! The only way I’ll know is if I try.
Grip it and Rip it!