“…because the easy answer to what they wanted in life was comfort. The great American dream, from my point of view, wasn’t life, liberty, or happiness—it was salary.” -Tom Coyne, A Course Called America
It should be well documented by now that I have a lot of things I want to do with my life. However, I can assure you that these things do not involve the phrase work, then retire in comfort, then do X.
I see my life as fluid. Live until I die. I chucked literal comfort out the window 25+ years ago, but not by my choice. It was, however, my choice to send figurative comfort packing about four short years ago.
One of the main hallmarks of lifestyle design is that, to the extent that it is possible, traditional hours of the day and traditional days of the week don’t matter. Want to do some work at 1am? Want to have some fun on Tuesday midday? Want to go to bed at 8pm on Friday? I’ve been fascinated by this idea for decades.
I called it the Cameron Indoor Effect. If a buddy called and offered Duke basketball tickets for a 6pm tip-off on a random Wednesday, would I drop everything and go? (In my new life, this is called the Augusta National Effect.)
Life could care less about Monday through Friday and 9 to 5. It happens when it happens. It’s been a wonderful and exciting learning for me. When an opportunity presents itself, when life presents itself, we must strongly consider taking the leap. I’ve woken up as early as 3am to do so. I’ve driven 8, 10, 12 hours in a day to do so. It really depends on want to, one of life’s most underrated qualities.
The golf lifestyle that I have chosen has many, many opportunities available, opportunities that can be reimagined and redefined every whichaway to fit my specific desires. Fashion, camaraderie, community, playing, teaching, architecture, travel…I could go on forever. It’s certainly not an uncomfortable lifestyle, but it can be expensive. It can be taxing on the body. Its opportunities can present themselves on odd days or at odd hours. Maybe I have to bob and weave a little. For me, it continues to pose that one burning question. How bad do I want it?
That is the question that drove me to wake up before the crack some twenty months ago to play golf in New Orleans with the man who wrote the book that I quoted above. Said book was just released, and damned if I’m not in it.
That is the question that drove me to send a random message to a prominent golf photographer from California who was in town a couple of weeks ago. After three days of no response followed then by a very last minute response, it was that question that caused me to drive two hours to go meet him for ten minutes. Those ten minutes resulted in our exchanging phone numbers, a 4am wake up call the following day to play golf together, and my featuring in his most recent blog under my new pseudonym, Swampy B.
That is the question that caused me to drive eight hours this past Thursday to Mossy Oak Golf Club, site of my first real tournament in three weeks time, to do a little homework. Up at 6am. Home by dark. Investment in the life I am trying to design.
So maybe you are wondering about the title?
Yesterday was Golf Day 598. My life has changed dramatically, obviously. Some days I only get 4-6 hours of sleep. Some days I exercise for 6-8 hours. Some days I’m on my feet for 12 hours. My elbows and forearms have lived three lifetimes.
So I take naps, and I stretch constantly. It’s the only way any of this remotely works.
Because as glamorous as the lifestyle looks, as lucky as I know I am, as fun and rewarding as it can be, it’s rarely ever comfortable. And because it’s not comfortable, I get the beautiful opportunity every day to ask myself, How bad do I want it?
Have a great week.-Benj
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