Dreaming Up a Lifestyle

A few months ago I changed the abk Instagram profile to read the following: Exploring my interests to create a full, non-traditional, intentional life. It’s not cute. It’s not fancy. But it’s true and to the point. If there was enough room, I would make one little tweak. Exploring ALL of my interests…

It’s no secret I have a ton of interests. Golf, sports, and travel are obvious. But what about my fascination with stadium architecture. My curiosity about Los Angeles and New York City culture. My desire to try all of the BBQ and shrimp and grits recipes in America.

Style. Freedom. Building something. Never ending learning. An intense interest in human behavior and human beings in general. Having friends and friendly acquaintances literally everywhere. I could go on and on.

My experience over the last five years is that when I am genuinely engaged in one of my interests, I am happy and fulfilled. When I am genuinely engaged in multiple interests, I’m so happy I am bursting at the seams, and that’s how I want to live. However, as someone with an infinite list of items that intrigue me and a finite time on this earth, I know that I have to be increasingly intentional and creative with my actions.

Somewhat recently, an abk idea popped into my head. Wouldn’t it be fulfilling to not only experience all 50 states, not only play golf in all 50 states, but shoot in the 70s in all 50 states while enjoying the company of either family or friends? (Travel, golf, human beings, nature, sport, self-mastery, etc)

I’ve visited 43 of the 50 states so far. I’ve played golf in 21 of those states, plus Cancun, Tijuana, and Vestmannaeyjar, Iceland. Of the 21 states I have played in, I’ve shot in the 70s in 8. (North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, and Iowa)

As the journey has progressed, I’ve learned that travel is fun. Traveling and playing golf is more fun. Traveling, playing golf, and playing at a high level is even more fun. Traveling and playing good golf with family and friends is the absolute best.

So…

Assuming nothing wonky, my son and I embark on our next epic sports trip in 23 days. Purdue vs Penn State opening Thursday night football. Tigers vs Royals in downtown Detroit. The Big House in Ann Arbor for opening football Saturday. Golf in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and maybe Alabama. Detroit style pizza. Lots of exploration, snuggles, and adventures.

This will make state 44 for me, golf states 22, 23, and 24, and hopefully good golf states 9, 10, and 11. But let’s be clear here: the numbers and stats are just ego boosting talking points for a dinner party, which I avoid like the plague now.

It’s the time spent immersed in these awesome activities with awesome people that keeps me overflowing.

After Michigan, that will just leave North Dakota, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, and Alaska that I haven’t experienced. But since I’ve upped the ante to require playing golf and playing GOOD golf in all 50 states, I guess I’ll just have to do them all over again.

One life.

Have a great week.-Benj

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Major Progress in abk Golf World

“They’re big, and they require sacrifice. Things that aren’t easy. They’re not the mundane. They’re not the normal. They’re dreams, and thus they require dreams execution.”-GaryVee

At the conclusion of the playing of my first Assistant’s Championship last Tuesday, it had been 1,196 days since I started the golf journey. Of those 1,196 days, I had grinded it out on the golf course for 882. 74%. Three out of every four days.

Three years, three months, and nine days. From a wildly ambitious dreamer and mediocre amateur golfer to missing my first professional paycheck by one spot. Getting paid to play golf. I finished eighth in the tournament. They paid the top seven spots.

I’ve kept copious notes of all 882 (now 885) days of grinding, and I remember the early part of the journey with great fondness. Like Day 3 when I shot 101 in my first round at Shell Landing. Or March 3, 2020, when a mentor told me my wedge game was terrible and I needed to do something about it. Or January 8, 2021, when I grinded through low thirty degree temperatures. Or June 3, 2022, when I played from almost 7500 yards to force myself to hit it a mile.

I’ve watched my son make his first real birdie. I’ve finished near dead last in a tournament. I’ve shot a 5 under par 67. I’ve practiced for thirty minutes one day, and ten hours the next. I’ve been excited, annoyed, defeated, nervous, and really nervous. I’ve heard my name called and felt my arms go limp.

I shot 109 early in the journey at US Open venue Pinehurst # 2, then posted a more than respectable 81 there just a couple of months ago. I shot 103 early in the process at Zurich Classic venue TPC Louisiana, then posted a 75 there a couple of years into the journey.

This year, I shot a 75 in my first tournament in New Orleans. In a match play event, I held my own but eventually lost 5&4 to a guy that has played in two PGA Tour events. In Houma, Louisiana, I shot another mid 70s round where I finished with two unfocused double bogies. Then I didn’t play another tournament for three months until Monday and Tuesday’s National Car Rental GSPGA Assistant’s Championship. Three months is too long. I was ready to compete.

My playing partner on Day 1, aka the eventual champion, had about a forty year head start on me in the golf world. A lifelong grinder, professional caddie, mini tour player, and teacher, it was obvious that he was a better player than me, but we hit it off immediately. After he told me his story and I told him mine, between shots, I picked his extremely experienced brain. We talked and laughed. He told me what I did very well, and he told me what I needed to work on. He only beat me by six strokes on Monday, a great gauge of my progress.

My playing partners on Day 2 were young guns, former collegiate golfers, and great players. We talked very little, but I still enjoyed the day. They hit it further, they hit it straighter, but I had life experience on my side. That might sound crazy, but I’ve done so much course management and work on the mental side of the game that I can be in the ballgame. One beat me by only four strokes and one beat me by zero strokes, a great gauge of my progress.

The course that we played was an absolute beast as witnessed by not a single player breaking old man par. I felt good about my play and solid about my eighth place finish. My Day 1 partner won the tournament at +2, and he would have shot in the 60s with his eyes closed at my home course. I reflected on and celebrated my birdies and pars, dissected my bogies, and reveled in the fact that I only made one double bogey, a direct reflection of 882 days of grinding.

A couple of better shots here and there, and I would have made $1,000. A few more here and there, I would have made $1,000 more. I’ve never even thought about the money until now, but I’ll tell you one thing. First time I win some cash, we are not celebrating the result, but we are definitely celebrating the dream execution.

And the next chance is only three weeks away.

Have a great week.-Benj

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Tuesday the 19th: A Roller Coaster of a Day

“I made three birdies, and my dog is still alive. It was a good day.”-Benj

A day earlier, some time midday, my trusty companion of almost seventeen years looked at me like she had finally had enough. Well, I take that back, she barely mustered up the strength to even look at me. I knew she had been going downhill, but I just couldn’t believe that this maniac of a dog, a dog that has been with me her entire life, a dog that has been with me my entire adult life, a dog with energy for days, could finally want to call it a day. But after a few hours of deliberation, I asked Christy to call the vet and set an appointment for Tuesday. 9:30am, confirmed. We would put her to sleep.

I had a tee time set for 2pm on Tuesday at Hattiesburg Country Club, a former PGA Tour stop and an old school traditional layout that I had heard wonderful things about, but had never played before. I was very excited, except that I wasn’t any more.

I woke up about 4am with knots in my stomach. For the next three hours while lying in bed, I proceeded to replay my entire adult life over in my head. For nearly seventeen years, there had been one constant in my life, and it was Becks. For nearly seventeen years, regardless of what I did, where I lived, who I was with, I came home to her. Don’t get me wrong, she was a nuisance, a knucklehead, an absolute nut of a dog. But she was full of love, and always there.

By 7am, I was crying profusely, and around 830am, I told Christy that I couldn’t do this. Let’s go to the vet, get some meds for her, and keep trucking. Yesterday was an anomaly. I don’t think she is ready.

So we did, and I immediately felt better. We got the meds, they kicked in almost immediately, and by the end of the night she was exploring the yard, controlling her bladder, and snuggling up on the couch. I felt like I was 23 again.

After crying profusely for about three hours that morning, I wondered if I would have any energy left to play this beautiful golf course that afternoon. It was about 1,000 degrees outside, and I was emotionally drained.

The course was absolutely beautiful, and I stumbled around my first nine like a man who had wrestled with putting his dog to sleep that morning. At the turn, though, I got my second wind, and proceeded to blitz the next nine in one under par, enjoying my company, my surroundings, and the fact that my dog would still be alive when I got back home.

It ended up being a great day. A weird day. An emotional day. A crazy roller coaster of a day that took me from North Carolina to Mississippi, uptown to rural, banking to golf, bachelor to father, so forth and so on.

And she’s still here. I’m so happy. I know she’s got at least one more fall season in her. Maybe two. Maybe five.

Have a great week.-Benj

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Autumn is my Summer

I’ve never loved the summer. Growing up in a college town, June and July were dead as a door nail. As a guy who loves action, it was not my speed.

As life has evolved, lots of things have changed, but my lack of love for summer has not. I don’t need to go to the beach because I live 100 yards from one. I don’t need to feel that Florida heat, because Mississippi heat is Florida heat on steroids. I don’t need to go see the palm trees, because I have three in my front yard.

What I do love is when July ends and August begins. Though it’s still hot as blazes, soccer and football start percolating, as do my autumn thoughts and the most wonderful time of the year.

Our summer crowds at the golf course are a little different down here. Mostly local. Mostly get out early, get in before the sun fries you. It’s hot. Brutally hot some days. The tourists love spring, fall, and winter, but not so much summer.

But this past Saturday, something interesting happened. As I started interacting with the day’s players early that morning, I immediately felt something different. This was a fall crowd. A football crowd. Lots of LSU fans. Some tourists. Some big groups. A couple of families. A bachelor party.

It got my blood flowing…

August 1st to January 1st is my favorite time of the year. Every year older that I get, I enjoy this time of year even more. Traveling to new places. Attending new stadiums. Seeing fall leaves. Playing fall golf. Watching all the games.

It’s an incredible time to experience life and just feel wonderfully alive. This year, I am more excited than ever, which is a great measure of the effectiveness of the journey.

It all gets kicking in about two weeks’ time when I play in my first Assistant’s Championship at the old school Laurel Country Club. Soon after, one of my childhood buddies is coming to see what The Secret Coast is all about. Immediately after he leaves, I’ve got another tournament, albeit more laid back and fun than the first. As August comes to a close, the big man and I are heading north to Michigan, a five day journey with all sorts of cool stuff on the docket. Later in September, I may get way out of my comfort zone and try to tee it up with the big boys, though a part of me knows that’s still likely a few years away. I’ve got fun tournaments in October, November, and December, but I’m most excited about the November family fall trip that, as much as I like new things, will be at the exact same cabin outside of Chattanooga where we all stayed a few years ago. That trip was so bananas good that we all agreed it could and should be replicated. Fall leaves, fall temperatures, the hot tub, incredible golf, great food, a charming town, games on the TV, and the kids playing.

One of the only hard and fast rules of the journey is to never wish away a single day, let alone an entire season. But I know where my heart lies, and I know how I start to feel when something amazing is just around the corner.

Have a great week.-Benj

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The 38 Year Old Intern

“We all know it’s hard climbing and sometimes it’s lonely – so find a good why and you can endure almost any how.”-Erik Anders Lang

When I started the golf journey over three years ago now, the quiet voice inside my head kept saying one thing over and over. You have to learn how to play golf well before anything is going to happen. That could take years. Hell, it may never happen. It’s definitely a risk. But, if you can handle that, anything is possible. Until then, that’s got to be your singular focus. Learn how to play golf well.

The logic inside of me just kept telling me that no one would take me seriously until I learned how to play well. Scratch golf, at an absolute minimum. That was more important than this certification or that certification. Learn how to play well. Immerse myself into the world of good players. Listen. Observe. Weed out the riff raff.

Give up a lucrative banking career to try something that may never happen. Sounds like a genius plan.

Somewhere between one and two years ago, I started working at a golf course. Since I was there five to ten hours a day anyway trying to get good at golf, they offered me a job. One day a week at first. Then two days. I basically ran a cash register, but that was my IN.

Then, a few months later, I became an assistant golf professional. My involvement increased significantly, and I also got lucky.

The onset of COVID around this time brought a boom to the golf industry that had never been seen before. All of a sudden our sleepy little beautiful golf course turned into Grand Central Station.

I had to learn everything. I had to learn everything fast. And I had to learn everything fast in an environment that never slowed down. I felt like a recent college graduate that hit the trading floor on Wall Street for the first time. Welcome to the team, now let’s get with it.

I love to learn, so I just buckled up. I listened. I observed. I did this wrong. That confused me. I could have done that better. But then it started clicking. This is how this works. This is why that works. But I still had questions. This doesn’t make sense. This could be changed. This could be done better.

I basically checked my wallet and ego at the door for a year (maybe more) and became an apprentice and a sponge. This applied to playing, teaching, coaching, and running a golf course. I didn’t know how to do any of this whatsoever three years ago. The subtleties, the intricacies, the details.

But I do now, largely because the demand for my and our services went bananas. I bet I learned a decade’s worth just last year.

As such, we shifted into high gear and got this place rocking and rolling. For eight to nine months out of the year, we never sit down. I personally teach six to twelve private lessons every week, with a growing waitlist. I help run our junior leagues and coach our kids. I am well into my PGA work, with a goal to be a full member by the end of 2023. I just got my American Development Model (ADM) certification for coaching kids along with my PGA Modern Coach certification. I take care of our members. I take care of the guests. I trade travel stories with the tourists. Most importantly, I play five to six days a week, and I try to play eight to twelve professional tournaments in our section each year. The most important thing is still to learn how to play well.

Just over five years ago, I started the journey of self-mastery: understanding, accepting, and investing in myself as an adult. For those first few years it felt like a figurative or intangible investment, though nonetheless important. For the last year or two, after going all in, it has definitely been a literal, tangible, financial investment. As the title of this piece states and as I wrote in my five year anniversary piece, I’ve left a shitload of money on the table. The ex-banker in me thinks I’m crazy. The current version of me is so proud that I have put my money where my mouth is.

I took a full year off to whittle 15+ strokes off my game. Over the next couple of years, I took another couple of strokes off. Now, I grind it out nearly every day trying to take decimal points off.

It may seem delusional, and I know lots of people both here and there thought I was nuts. But that first year of grinding with no pay was so important. The second year with minimal pay was so important. The third year with limited pay, relatively speaking, was so important.

They are the reasons that, for the first time in five years, the trajectory has now changed. The momentum has now changed. With every day that passes, I have a clearer picture of what this all could become.

Have a great week.-Benj

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From Downtown to Down South

I love the big city. So much to see. So much to do. Sports teams. Restaurants. Eclectic shops. Pedestrian friendly. The distinctly different neighborhoods. The mystery. Should I go on? I used to live smack in the heart of one.

But now, I live nowhere near a big city, comparatively speaking. New Orleans is close enough (and interesting enough) to whet my whistle, but far enough away to keep me a svelte 205 pounds.

Let’s face it, if The Gulf of Mexico wasn’t in my front yard, I’d live out in The Boonies. La la land. Twenty minutes to get to anything. DoorDash won’t even make the trip.

So as much as I can, I hit the big city. Lest I forget about the way it makes me feel.

My current travel companion is my seven year old son. So far this year, we’ve hit Boston, Memphis, New Orleans, and Charlotte. In previous years, he’s been to New York City, Washington DC, Dallas, and Miami. In a few months, Detroit is on the docket.

This past weekend, we hit Atlanta.

Prior to our leaving, he informed his mother and me (for the third or fourth time) that once he had enough money saved, he was moving to Boston to live in the penthouse suite of a hotel. Needless to say, the allure of a good city had made its mark.

When we finally hit the road for Atlanta early Sunday morning, we were both salivating, except he had no idea where we were going or who we were going to see.

He had no idea we were going to Atlanta United vs Inter Miami with one of my college teammates and his kids. He had no idea we were going to hang with Grandma and Granddad for a couple of days. He had no idea he was going to get to swim with Grandma for hours on end. Or play at LegoLand. Or eat nachos at a Braves game. Or see the high rises. Eat the food. See the people. Smell the smells.

But most important to him…the hotel. I swear it represents freedom and it’s in the genes. The pool, the snuggles, SportsCenter, lying in bed at midnight eating something good.

I literally started laughing out loud to no one in particular as we left LegoLand Monday afternoon. LegoLand is on the third floor at Phipps Plaza, an uber upscale shopping center in the ritzy Buckhead area of Atlanta. We came down the escalator, and I saw a sign that pretty much epitomized the abk journey of the last five plus years.

One way pointed to The LegoLand Discovery Center, the only reason we were there. The other way pointed to Tom Ford, one of my favorite luxury designers of my past life.

As I laughed out loud, I thought to myself, Man life has changed. From Tom Ford to LegoLand. From Downtown to Down South.

What a journey.

Have a great week.-Benj

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abk Golf: No Need to Panic

“I had no idea where the ball was going.”-abk Golf

In retrospect, maybe I didn’t want to be there. That’s what everyone I saw at the course that day told me. Maybe I still wanted to be out on the water looking at the dolphins with my son as I had done the previous day. Maybe I wanted to be at home in the air conditioning resting my legs. But whatever it was, I was horrible. Terrible. No excuses. It was my worst round of golf in nearly two years.

Imagine you started your life over at age 36 to start a journey, a very personal journey. You dedicated your time, effort, money, body, and resources to learning certain skills. Tricky skills. Tough skills. But useful skills that would help you build something really freaking cool. But then one random day a few years in, your body and mind forgot all of them.

That’s how I felt on Tuesday.

If I had been keeping an individual score via full USGA rules on Tuesday, I think I would have broken 90, but just barely. It hurts to even type that. After an acceptable start, I had no idea what I was doing beginning on hole 5. Completely clueless. Back to square one. My play was poor. My scoring was poorer.

The following night I played nine holes with one of my students. I told him that if there was any night that he was going to beat me, it would be tonight. My play wasn’t much better than the previous day’s, but one of the skills I have developed as a professional is to grind out a reasonable score even on the bad days. I scraped together a 3 over par 39, still a little baffled at what the hell was going on.

I took Thursday off to teach a big group of kids, then got back to it on Friday with one of my buddies. My warmup was uninspired and terrible, but I was hellbent on getting my body to move correctly. Tap in par. Tap in birdie. Silly bogey. Tap in birdie. Tap in par. Tap in par. Lipout bogey. Tap in par. Tap in birdie. 1 under par 35, and quite possibly the best I’ve ever hit the ball. I’m back, or so I thought.

Saturday, I played five holes with another buddy, but I didn’t want to be there. Ditto for Sunday. Some good shots. Some bad shots. But mostly uninterested. That seemed to be the theme for the week.

“We’re just trained professionals. We play basketball on days that we don’t want to play basketball.”- NBA player Lou Williams

I don’t play golf for a living, but being able to play golf well is a huge piece of my new lifestyle, credibility, and future in the golf universe. Because I came so late to the golf party, I’ve spent the last three plus years making up for lost time. But now, I know that I have to make an adjustment to the play/practice/rest schedule. Playing when I’m fried does no good. Playing when my back won’t rotate does no good.

I’m not an NBA player that has to bring it 82 nights a year whether they want to or not. I’m not a PGA Tour player that plays 30 weeklong tournaments per year.

I want to play 8-12 one day or two day tournaments a year. I want to be in peak condition for those. Ready and able to compete at a high level, and then see where that takes me.

The game of golf has magical surprises around every corner.

Have a great week.-Benj

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An Imperfectly Perfect Reset

Due to my past athletic exploits, I know what’s it’s like be sidelined with a concussion, sprained ankle, and knee surgery. Due to the arthritic condition that I have had to manage for 25+ years now, I know how that feels ever so intimately. But I rarely, if ever, get ill, so I am likely not the best sick patient you have ever met.

I woke up last Sunday morning feeling a little off, but excited to play in a little informal tournament that afternoon. But after about three hours at the office that culminated in me throwing up seven times, I knew there would be no golf (or work or anything) for the rest of the day.

Or the next, it turns out. After throwing up twenty one times the previous day, the body ain’t gonna feel good the next day, if you know what I mean. I lost a good ten pounds, easy. So I drank water, pounded electrolytes, and ate jello, popsicles, and chicken noodle soup. I snoozed, binge watched The Lincoln Lawyer on Netflix, and even watched another movie.

But as I helplessly lay inside on two perfectly beautiful coastal Mississippi days, I took the time to take inventory and reset.

If we don’t make the time to reflect and reset regularly, I believe from past experience that we just get set on cruise control. Keep doing the same things. Keep getting the same outcomes.

I also believe that if we do take the time to ask ourselves the real questions about happiness, direction, ambition, potential, life experience, purpose, and just general joy PLUS have the courage to then act, something magical will happen.

I’ve been on my journey for the better part of five years now. Prior to Sunday morning’s BarfFest 2022, here is where I stood. I have limitless opportunity in the golf industry: as a career, as a teacher, and I love to play. I have a growing family, daily forays out into nature, and a clearer picture of who I am and what I want out of life (and the courage to pursue it). I have travelled to many interesting places with plans to travel to many more, and I have experienced many things I never thought I would with plans to experience many more.

However, some things need to evolve. My feet hurt. My Achilles hurts. My knees hurt. My elbows hurt sometimes. If I’m serious about maximizing my potential, I could be more diligent about stretching and how I balance my love for great food and drink with, say, eating bananas. My soul hurts when I miss one of my son’s soccer games. And then those handful of long, long days each week where I work, teach, study, practice, and play…(Shout out to my Achilles.)

When I have feedback of real feelings, I listen now. I am a true believer that there is a solution to most every problem. So having 48 hours to sit and listen were of great value to me, an opportunity to adjust for the 42,000th time along the journey.

The abk lifestyle is all about the pivot and the adjustment. When life throws you lemons, figure out what the *#%* is going on and make the necessary adjustment.

As much as I would have loved to jet ski, cookout, play golf, and visit with folks over the long weekend, it apparently was time to reset. The universe spoke. Instead of burgers and dogs, I drank 39 gallons of water. And instead of continuing to do exactly what I was doing when some tweaks were definitely needed, I was given the silence and the kick in the pants to go make the next iteration of the journey come to life.

Have a great week.-Benj

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Five Years of anything but khakis ®️: Entry # 246

“Regret is way worse than losing, and people are choosing to live with regret because they don’t want to take the chance to do something because they might lose in front of others.”- GaryVee

Getting a good understanding of what you want out of life is the key piece of the puzzle.

To get that understanding, you might have to try hundreds of new things. Even as an adult. Especially as an adult.

Over the past three years, I estimate that I’ve left a half million dollars on the table. But I live relatively stress free and do what I want every day.

Long term patience and short term action are the answers.

Short term impatience and long term inaction are the killers.

In Coastal Mississippi, rules are merely suggestions, and freedom reigns supreme, which I love.

Within the past five years, I’ve really gotten a good understanding of myself as an individual human being. As a father, I am on it. As a traditional partner, I’m a handful.

Kids are love. When I look at my kids, I just feel love.

I hope Christy and the kids boat, fish, and swim every day this summer. That’s the whole point of being here.

The most complex thing along the journey has been health insurance. What a cluster.

Every time I accomplish something that I didn’t think was possible, I realize that at that moment, I am still nowhere near my potential.

I’ve lost so much over the last five years, that losing doesn’t scare me. All of that losing made me so much better.

Eventually, I am going to win, and it’s going to be huge.

Getting good at golf, running marathons, and raising small children are tossups for the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

My arthritis is real, but I just find a way. It’s my superpower.

I’m sore. Very sore. Extremely sore.

I am not a big fan of small talk or excuses.

The process of getting really good at something is intense. You make lots of sacrifices, but so do the people around you. None of that goes unnoticed.

Travel is the best. It really is. My soul craves a unique trip about every six weeks. I feel like I now have friends and friendly acquaintances everywhere.

If the world doesn’t offer what you want, create it yourself.

Fear of other people’s judgement has to be the number one killer of dreams. That, and addiction to the mighty dollar.

Moms are superheroes. I repeat.

I try to take two days completely off each week now. Of the other five days, I bust it for three and then just work the other two.

Having said that, if you are trying to build something (a company, brand, lifestyle, etc.), it’s an all day, every day thing.

abk is always on my mind.

You must enjoy the grind and process of what you do. Otherwise, it will be difficult to fulfill your potential because the grind will simply wear you out.

Coulda shoulda woulda. Either you let it happen, make it happen, or it ain’t gonna happen.

I don’t mind asking for help. I don’t mind people offering suggestions. But I do not like being told what to do.

There is a massive difference between making a living, living, and living life to the fullest.

Most problems really aren’t problems.

I make mistakes all of the time. It’s a huge part of coloring outside the lines.

Surround yourself with negativity and the world becomes a cynical place. Surround yourself with positivity and it becomes a pretty cool adventure.

I try to give people a different perspective on life. That’s my purpose. It may be the only time they ever see or hear something different.

I’m known as the guy down here who travels everywhere and plays golf all the time. That’s reasonably accurate.

It’s me vs. me and you vs. you. Simple as that.

Many people have seen only one way to live. I’ve observed and experienced hundreds of ways now. The abk lifestyle takes cues from my favorites.

At the end of the day, am I going to be a specialist in golf or on taking the journey? I prefer the latter.

Golf is now my job. I guess jet skiing is a hobby.

I’ve got a couple of tournaments over the summer then I want to take my son to Detroit.

I miss autumn leaves. We don’t have that down here. So every autumn, there will be a family fall leaf viewing trip.

Don’t waste my time, because I sure as hell won’t waste yours.

I have a hard time with mediocrity.

I’ve basically had to go back to square one to learn everything about the game of golf. It’s been worth it.

I think it’s important to have fresh perspectives from an outsider.

I turn forty on Wednesday, and I play outside every single day. That feels like success to me.

Have a great week.-Benj

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Time to Exhale: (Just Over) A Month of Absolute Madness

“We must remember that the purpose of the abk lifestyle is to live every day like it’s my 40th birthday. So that on my actual 40th birthday, it’s irrelevant if we go to Vegas or eat sandwiches at the house.”-abk

The story begins on Saturday night April 2 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and ends on Monday afternoon May 9 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.

When it became apparent that my Duke Blue Devils would be playing the hated UNC Tarheels in the Final Four in New Orleans on a Saturday night in early April, my juices started flowing.

And they didn’t stop flowing until I tapped in for par on the last hole at the world famous Pinehurst # 2, one of the best (and hardest) golf courses on Planet Earth.

After that five hour walk, the ten hour drive down, and the previous five weeks, I finally took a breath.

After arriving home in the wee hours following that electric Saturday night, soon after, I watched my son make his first real birdie on the golf course.

Soon after, my brother and his family arrived in town from Raleigh.

Soon after, we celebrated my little daughter turning seven months old.

Soon after, one of my best friends for my whole life and his family arrived in town from just outside of Charlotte.

Soon after, I headed over to Houma, Louisiana to play in a tournament at Ellendale Country Club on a picture perfect day for golf.

Soon after, we all buckled in as we prepared to host the Boys High School State Championship, a monumental, all hands on deck task that was extremely exhausting, but a wonderful experience.

Soon after, I joined a smattering of family and friends back in Charlotte for my first Charlotte FC soccer game in person.

Soon after, we swung by my son’s previous favorite restaurant to grab pizza and pasta before the kids jumped in my sister’s freezing cold pool.

Soon after, we celebrated my mom’s retirement after 25 years as church organist as she played a couple of bangers before finally hanging it up.

Soon after, we celebrated Christy, Suz, my mom, and all the moms with a delicious steak cookout at my childhood home.

Soon after, my mom and I snuck out to a local golf course, flying through 18 holes with the weather unseasonably cold and most guys banned from playing on Mother’s Day.

Soon after, my dad and I headed to Pinehurst Resort, a special father/son Monday out, but also my annual test at # 2 to see how much progress I’ve made.

After I tipped my caddie and thanked him profusely, my dad asked me what was next. I told him that I was thirsty, hungry, and wanted to sit down. I grabbed a seat, annihilated a hot dog, and took a few deep breaths, proud as hell of how I had just played.

As much as I’d like to tell you that there are more deep breaths on the horizon, that is probably not true. Jet ski season is finally here, anything but khakis®️ turns five next week, and I turn forty.

And I have to say that, as I sit here right now, sandwiches at the house to celebrate is sounding pretty damn good.

Have a great week.-Benj

Join the abk community!

Follow along on Instagram @anythingbutkhakis, @abkgolf, and @anythingbutkhakisphotography.

If you enjoy these and would like to get the weekly piece via email, please follow on the website http://www.anythingbutkhakis.com.