There was a lot of the usual post-round golf talk in Michelle Wie’s media session at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open where she is tied for the lead with Korea’s, Amy Yang. They are at 2-under and have a 4-shot lead over the irrepressible Julie Inkster, Ireland amateur-turned-pro-this-week, Stephanie Meadow, Korea’s, Na Yeon Choi and Aussie amateur, Minjee Lee.
Wie and Yang are friends and will be paired in the last group at 1:36 pm. Meadow gets Inkster and Lee gets Na Yeon. This could all be very captivating.
But for now, what I found interesting was this question and answer from Michelle about how she envisioned her life when she was young and how that turned out:
Q. So when you were say 15 or 16, is this where you always imagined you would be at 24 or did you have any idea what you wanted to be when you were 15 or 16?
“Yeah, I mean this is exactly where I wanted to be. That’s why I work hard, I want to be in positions like this. I want to be in the final pairing of the U.S. Open and it’s just great. It’s really, I think it’s more and more motivating that when I play well that I want to work harder”
“When I was 15 and 16 I think kind of the troubles that I came into when I was younger is that I tried to plan my life and a lot of times things don’t happen the way they should or the way they should in my mind. So I’m just kind of going out there living it day by day. Just a lot of fun when hard work pays off. I’m really excited for tomorrow.”
I don’t know how many of you are being exposed to this idea of living life on a day by day basis, but when I was first exposed to it, it was an anathema to everything logical and responsible I knew to be true: you set your goal, you work tirelessly to reach it and, most important, you get it done, dammit.
But God truly does work in mysterious ways. In high school I was a disaffected underachiever who grew impatient with the slow pace and relevance of the curriculum. I grew weary of my worried parents’ insistence that I had to go to college. Out of nowhere, in the Vietnam era, I decided to join the Navy. It appeared that I would miss out on all that a college education afforded you in those days.
Instead, my four-year enlistment plopped me down on a destroyer out of Mayport (Jacksonville), Florida, where I proceeded to see the world, one seaport at a time: the Caribbean, Bermuda, two cruises to the Mediterranean, Turkey, Lebanon, the Holy Land, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, East Africa and Madagascar. In the early days of the space program, we were stationed off the West Coast of Africa for two weeks to pick up the astronauts if they had to abort the launch before they got to orbit. While we were waiting, I got to swim in 6,000 feet of water.
As a 20-year-old kid, I had the responsibility of maintaining the computers and radars of the ships gunnery system and was the guy in the bowels of the ship who pulled the trigger to fire the ship’s big guns. Soon after, I became the leader of the other dozen or so men who operated the system. Me, the formally disaffected punk.
When my four years were up, I was finally ready to give it the old college try. Semester after semester, my veterans’ education benefits paid for my undergraduate business degree. And when I decided that my education lapse required me to go on to my MBA, it wasn’t until I received my last check for my last semester that I was notified that my benefits, perfectly, had finally run out.
I chose finance because as a kid, I had always been fascinated with the financial section of the New York Times and what it all meant and a family friend cautioned me to be sure to get a functional degree that would lead to a job. And even though I found my first two jobs at Bank of America doing middle market lending and at Lucasfilm, Ltd. as the Assistant Treasurer intellectually stimulating and rewarding, I always had this sense that they weren’t my true calling.
I spent a lifetime wondering and worrying about what my future would be. If only I had the benefit of Michelle’s day by day wisdom, I might have been more at ease with it all. Make a choice, go full out to live life to the fullest, and then watch for God to open doors that might be better choices for you. You will know them when you see them.
But it might not be the last choice you make. After my nine-year adventure Monday qualifying on the Champions Tour, I found out that I am a much better writer than I am a professional golfer, than I am a finance guy. It took writing, “Generating Miracles: A Spiritual Adventure on the Champions Tour,” to see that possibility in tangible form. Yes, this really is you, Bill.
When the project to get the book published languished, I saw an opportunity to build a marketing platform for the book. A public speaking consultant encouraged me to produce a one-man show, the stage version of the book, if you will. With the help of a drama professor at ASU, I spent three years writing, directing and starring in three preview shows.
But after the incalculably beneficial experience of knowing that I could get up on a stage and hold my own, a publicist told me that it would be much easier to promote if there was a book associated with it. Doh! The old chicken and the egg conundrum was God’s way of steering me back to the book.
Other than that the book hasn’t found the right agent and publisher yet, I have no idea why it hasn’t sold. I’ve had too many people who knew a little about it tell me that it’s not the writing. One asked if I’d ever had any writing classes and compared me to Hemingway. A well-read friend from my Monday qualifying days raved about its authenticity and said he was with me on every page.
And so for now, I patiently exercise my writer’s muscle every day with this blog, yet another marketing platform for the book. And after doing that for four years, I know it’s right too, that it’s the next step along the way and that it ultimately will lead to the full expression of myself as a writer. I just don’t know when or how.
But I am going to see my new agent when I return to New York in September for my high school reunion. Yes, the same high school that I couldn’t wait to escape as a teenager to be with lifelong friends from all those many years ago.
Isn’t it fun how it all comes full circle, the same fun that drives Michelle’s life too.