A couple of months ago, I did something that made me very uncomfortable. Roped in by a Christmastime clearance sale, I bought two pair of khaki-colored Puma golf pants. I hadn’t owned nor worn a pair of khakis since Halloween 2018, which I wore as a part of a costume, but since these $100 pants were on sale for $15, I had to give them a shot. Golf is expensive. Travel is expensive. Pants don’t have to be. Anything but khakis…maybe I was evolving or at least softening my stance?
Well, I was wrong. No chance. I hate ‘em, but I’m proud of myself for trying.
Over the past few years, I tried a zillion things.
I adventured to Hollywood, Miami, Destin, Atlanta, Nashville, Wyoming, Montana, Salt Lake City, Venice/Bologna/Milan, Italy, Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, New York City, Cleveland, New Orleans, Kentucky, Indiana, Washington DC, Baltimore, Dallas, Orlando, Mexico City, Wrightsville Beach, Ocean Isle, The Greenbrier, Baton Rouge, Houston, Panthers Training Camp, North Carolina Golf Week, Iceland, Las Vegas, Boone, The Outer Banks, Primland, Cameron Indoor Stadium, West Jefferson, NBA All Star Weekend, San Diego, Tijuana, East Lake, Pinehurst Resort, JazzFest, Kingsport, Midwest Road Trip (Mississippi to Minneapolis and back), Tampa, Selma, Out West Road Trip (Mississippi to Utah to Charlotte and back), Birmingham, Chattanooga, The Cotton Bowl, Natchez, Cancun, South Florida, and Mardi Gras. Oh, and I moved to Mississippi.
I ate everything under the sun. Octopus tacos stood out. Shrimp and oysters covered in melted swiss and brown gravy became a fav. Egg rolls from a local gas station became an even bigger fav.
I slept in every kind of bed seemingly except my own. I slept in a camper in Iowa. I slept in a tent, on hard rocks, under the beautiful, yet windy, Utah sky. Believe it or not, my 6’4” frame actually slept in bunk beds.
I felt immense joy, deep grief, confusion, bewilderment, curiosity, excitement, and fear. I felt passion. Lots and lots of passion.
I met new friends, lost old friends, lost new friends (I’m not everyone’s cup of tea), reconnected with long lost souls, and every other combination you can imagine.
I learned why Iceland is a bucket list destination, but also why it might cause depression in gloomy months.
I learned why México City is a culinary hotspot, but also what Montezuma’s Revenge feels like.
I learned what shooting an 89 and being thrilled feels like, and I learned what shooting a 73 and being disappointed feels like.
I learned what it feels like to have an epidural injected into my spine and what piriformis syndrome and plantar fasciitis feel like. I learned that I wouldn’t wish those on my worst enemy.
I learned what it feels like to drive across the country, both east to west and north to south. I learned that the United States of America, while only one country, can feel like hundreds of different universes.
I learned what it feels like to personally walk across the infamous bridge in Selma, Alabama, nervous and uncertain how exactly I was supposed to feel.
I learned what it feels like to start building something from scratch, small step by small step, and the patience required and frustration felt along the way.
Repeatedly, I have worked towards and accomplished absurd personal feats, feeling over and over what it is like to do something no one (i.e. myself) ever thought was possible.
And I learned what it feels like to do these things alone, with family, with friends, and with complete strangers.
The pursuit of self mastery and the evolution of self is the most powerful, and most difficult, force I’ve ever encountered. (Please note: this is NOT the pursuit of perfection. If anything, it is the complete opposite.) This journey propelled me into new worlds, worlds that I didn’t even know existed, worlds that I now live in. (I’m not talking about Mississippi.) Everything I did made me feel a certain way, and by honing in on those feelings, I was able to take each experience as a useful, positive learning experience (especially when I felt very uncomfortable), no doubt preparing me for something grander, more purposeful in the future.
I learned to experience life in a completely different way. Things that scared me previously, I now walk straight towards instead of away from. Things that made me uncomfortable or nervous, I realized that feeling was probably either a mirage or due to my own ignorance or inexperience. Things or people that I didn’t understand, well, that’s on me, not them.
I’m not naturally a feeler, but through all of this, I learned how to feel my way through life. Now, THAT is something new.
After all of this evolution, I don’t know why I still can’t get my head around khaki pants, but I tried, and that’s 90% of the battle.
Oh, and I also can’t get my head around king cake, which I technically still haven’t tried. I’ve been looking at this Mardi Gras colored, strawberry cream cheese, cinnamon goo-filled concoction for over a week now, and I just can’t do it. It grosses me out. Turns out, I have limits too.
Anything but khakis and king cake…just doesn’t have the same ring, does it?
Have a great week.-Benj
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