golf ball in the grass

My golf game has become analogous to my new Covid-19 lifestyle.  After 25 years of playing with my Ladies’ Light and Easy golf clubs, I decided it was time for an upgrade.  

In the beginning I was loving the game.  Enjoying the time with my new clubs and just trying to celebrate some of the small accomplishments I was experiencing with each new club.  

Like golf my COVID-19 life began in a similar fashion.  I chose to take things day-by-day and as things got taken away, I would find new ways to pivotturn and enjoy each new experience.  

So where are things today with golf and COVID-19?  I find the first four holes of my game are incredibly fun.  At Hole #5 I begin to become mentally dis-engaged.  Anything can flip this switch a bad shot, a lost ball, even a squirrel on the cart path.  I use my own advice, reach into my imaginary tool kit, reset and refocus.  The change does not occur until Hole #8 but it does change.  I remind myself that what happened on Holes #5-7 does not define me or my golf game.  I tell myself to set up to that tee like it’s the first shot of the day, and then bam a new, stronger shot emerges, and I am back in the game, even if for just one more hole.   

COVID-19 has been similar and I have a feeling this might be true for others.  I was strong out of the gates, then I realized the end was not coming as quickly as I hoped.  The longer I sheltered in place the more my low-grade depression increased.  I had to allow these feelings to happen if I was ever going to regain my confidence and find that next great shot or opportunity.  Today as I prepare for another semester of remote learning with my family, I am trying to stay focused on ways to leverage this as a positive for my all of us.  It’s another chance to reset and refocus. We weren’t strong as a family, we lacked order and discipline, and I personally let video games and Netflix do the parenting.  I wish the kids were going back to school but they are not.  The decision has been made and now just like with golf shot I can either dwell on the bad shot or get back up the tee and focus on creating a better experience on a new hole.  

I don’t want anyone to think I am not being sympathetic to the challenges that another semester of remote learning presents to many families however if you continue to focus on the negative aspects then the panic wins and you will never be able to emerge stronger, smarter and more prepared for life’s next set of challenges and they are coming, I promise.  There is one thing we are forgetting about this quarantine period, its different than our original “phase one.   Keep in mind we had no escapes, no human contact other than within the people in our homes.  Today, we have more options. Stores are open, coffee shops and restaurants have expanded their outdoor seating and we are mastering the art of utilizing our outdoor spaces for work and play.  

As you begin to embark on yet another new normal experience think back to my golf analogy.  Yes, Holes #5-7 sucked, but they did not destroy my love of the game.  Don’t let these challenging times destroy your love of anything but especially life.  I encourage all of you to stay the course.  Step up to the tee, keep your head down and just swing for the stars.  This time may present you with your best shot yet. 

Emily McCavanagh is an avid golfer and a resident of Manchester.