January 07, 2010

The Clock Is Running- Give Me Some Breathing Room

(Basketball as a metaphor for life, again.)

Sometimes what irritates me the most about getting older are the physical changes. I woke up this morning, tired, achy and cranky. More than anything else I was irritated by how my legs felt. Played two hours of ball the night before and they were most unhappy with me.

I ran with a bunch of younger guys.They were anxious to push the ball up the court as fast as possible. I suspect that I frustrated them because I didn't push it as hard as they did. I grabbed a rebound and cleared out space, gave myself room to see what was going on. No need to react on every play, unless necessary.

On the drive home I thought about it. Pumped full of endorphins and feeling my oats I smiled at the memory of doing battle on the boards with the 25 year-old who was trash talking. It would have been easy to give in and go hard at him on every play, but that wouldn't have been playing my game.

I try not to get caught up in looking at the past. The 25 year-old I used to be would have gone full force on every play. My ego wouldn't have allowed me to give in at all. Life has changed and I can't do that anymore, not if I want to play for more than a couple of games.

So I have adapted and adjusted my game. I have gotten smarter about how to play. I clear out and look around because I want the breathing room. I want to make smart decisions. It is not any different than how I approach life. I don't want to make stupid decisions because I am angry, frustrated and upset.

It is harder now because I don't have the breathing room I want. Too many responsibilities and too much mishegahs is making it harder to gain the space I crave. So I find myself short tempered and more interested in making the quick and easy move.

Last night I baited the 25 year-old into trying to out muscle me. I taunted and teased him about being embarrassed by the fat middle aged guy and he bought it hook, line and sinker. Mind you it was all in good fun and he razzed me back repeatedly.

But it worked because I forced him to play to my strengths. I made him play my game. I think that part of the reason I have been frustrated lately is that I have forgotten that part of my success has been built upon adapting my game to the environment.

Instead I have been busy trying to force the square peg into the round hole. It is not a smart way to do things. No need to work twice as hard for half the reward.

If I had a little breathing room I would have realized it sooner, but I didn't. So here I am, slow to pick up on the obvious, but I have got it now. Now let's see where it were goes.

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