My Grandpa Joe recently came out from Florida for a visit and I enjoyed my time with him. I had to pull some crazy hours at work to try and fit in all the fun but it was well worth it. We went to the Del Mar Track one day, followed by dinner at Tony Jacals in Solana Beach. I blame my Grandpa (and Grandma, but more gramps) for my enjoyment of the races at Del Mar (and maybe gambling in general). I have vivid memories of walking around on the infield with him, looking at the horses. He would ask me who I would want to bet on in the next race, and then he’d place a bet for me. Living in Solana Beach they would go often. I don’t really know how many times I was able to go with them, but I will always picture myself with him, walking around the infield in what seemed to be the early foggy morning.
On Thursday we played afternoon twilight golf at Carmel Mountain. The following day, still sore, we played golf out on Coronado on the Military base. We all played absolutely rotten on the friday at Coronado. It was during this round that I got to thinking.
However, after waking up at 4:45 AM this day, my thoughts were not really sinking in. I started to think back to my Rhetoric classes and the lesson that I hang onto the tightest. We studied about making communication effective sometimes requires one to create an illusion of the first or last time experiencing something. Anytime you do something new or fresh, the experience takes on a more vivid feeling. Likewise, if you realize that an experience might be the very last time you will experience it in your life, you appreciate every bite, every laugh just a little bit more. In all, it comes to appreciating a moment more vividly, and creating a deeper sense of awareness of life.
The golf course this day was one of those golf experiences where you ask yourself “how many holes left” over and over because you are playing so badly, you can’t wait for the round to end. I caught myself doing this repeatedly and it was troubling me. I wanted to break this thought pattern, and appreciate the moment more. After all, could this be the last time I possibly play golf with my grandpa? I practically learned the game from him going to the driving range with him as a 5 year old. I attribute any and all of my golf playing to him, as my teacher and mentor. Could this be the final round I ever play with him? How many years of golf does he have left at his age, and with him living on the other side of the country we only see each other every couple of years. The day before in Carmel Mountain, I think might have been the first time I ever shot a lower round than him.
I wanted to focus on this, but I was just too worn down and playing so poorly, that I came away disappointed that I hadn’t had that vivid experience that I was hoping for.
Regardless of these thoughts, I had a great time this week with my grandpa. I hope and expect that this was not my last time golfing with him, or being active with him. I’m continually trying to appreciate life each day. Viva La Vida. Life goes by way too quickly. Another one of my favorite bands has a lyric that rings true for me in my attempts to viva la vida, and to experience things through the perception of it being my first or last time:
Now the days go by so fast…
I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments as they pass
I love you Grandpa.