Looking Ahead
WOODS: There is still time to join the club

Golf is an extremely popular pastime but,so far, I have managed to resist its charms.

I’m worried that may be about to change.

Not that I think there is anything wrong with the game or that it is easy. It isn’t.

I tried it out at university, back when drivers and three woods were made of wood and the pros had names like Nicklaus and Palmer, but that was mainly because my roommates were into the game and I enjoyed doing things with them.

And I played with another friend a few times after I graduated, but it has been easy to find other things I would rather do with my free time.

I love to play lots of different sports so maybe I have beenputting the game on the shelfuntil I am too old to run around.

I may have had a similar attitude towards bird watching. Yes, I ran the Francistown chapter of BirdLife Botswana for seven years, but that was because no one else wanted the job and I didn’t want the branch to fold.

I liked seeing and identifying birds but what I really enjoyed was the walking and bush camping in out-of-the-way places.

And to tell you the truth,I preferredtendingto the fire to sitting around with the expertsas they poured over the bird guides.

The same goes for writing a book. I’ve always seen it as the kind of thing that can wait until I don’t feel like being outside and physically active most of the time.

The change in the way I view these things isprobably the result of two events; one that just happened and another that will take place next month.

The first was the death of my mother two weeks ago, and the second will be my 60th birthday, and they havegot me thinking about the passing of time and aging gracefully.

My mum did that. Her name was Grace.

Anyway, in recent months all those activities have started looking more attractive than they used to.

I have even gone to a driving range to hit a few golf balls and bought some high-quality and ridiculously expensive–for me – binoculars that for the first time in my life have me looking forward to simply looking at birds.

I haven’t started the book yet, but I have a title andI can finally picture myself sitting down long enoughto tackle the project.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with taking up golf, bird watching or writing books while you are young.

I am just saying if we want to age gracefully it would probably be a good idea to find things to do that allow us to learn and develop new skills… and there is no reason why those skills cannot be connected to things we have tried in the past.

So,there you go; maybe I have finally reach the point where I canget serious about golf. I can live with that.

I just hope I never getto the point where that I want to watch it on TV.

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