In five days I take my instructor’s test for the PGA. It’s an exam where the participants are required to play 36 holes in a single day and must average a score that they know well ahead of time in order to pass. Now, I’ve never taken the LSAT or the MCAT, so I can’t speak to their respective difficulty, but I do know that they don’t make you acquit somebody on trial or perform heart surgery in order to pass them, so I think the PGA is being a little sadistic here.
In order to ease some of this stress, I looked at the available courses to take it and found one in my hometown that I worked at for almost a year and have probably played 50 times. I traveled back home this past Sunday to get in a couple practice rounds and check out the course conditions. Maybe it was the fact that the day before I got home we put on our 2nd biggest tournament of the year, maybe it was that I hadn’t had a day off in a couple weeks, or maybe it was because I hadn’t been home in over a year. Whatever the reason, when I pulled up to my mom’s house I felt a weight lift off my shoulders.
My daily responsibilities floated away as if they’d never existed. Since the course I’m testing at is private and closed on Mondays, I woke up the next morning and played one of the public courses with my best friend and then ate some lunch. I visited my mom at work, practiced some more, and when she got off we went to my favorite Mexican restaurant where I piled a shameful amount of chile relleno on top of a day’s worth of alcohol and greasy hometown food.
The next day I played my practice round and came home to takeout from another favorite restaurant of mine. By the time I got on the highway to make the 6 1/2 hour drive back to Bryan/College Station on Wednesday morning, I was definitely staring hard at the rearview.
I have always happily taken part in the endless criticism of those among my generation who stayed home following graduation. Because I left to go to college I thought I could look down on anybody who walked straight off the stage in high school and back into their parent’s house. But I get it now. After a long run of perpetual slaving to a bunch of ungrateful members/customers and devoting 40-50 hours a week of my time to people that will probably forget my name within a month of me leaving here, it was really nice to be able to prioritize myself and what I wanted to do for two days. It was refreshing to be around people who were not only concerned about me, but went out of their way to alleviate any sort of difficulty that might be present in my life.
At a time when our generation is criticized, mocked, and patronized by our peers, elders, and politicians, it’s understandable why some people would choose the familiarity of their hometown over an uncaring, unknown world with no safety net to catch you when you fail. Trading possibility and ambition for security and a stress free environment was a tempting proposition. I’d be lying if I said the thought didn’t cross my mind for an instant to hang it up, move back in, and learn to shut out the annoying cry of what might have been in exchange for continuing to let my mother spoil me straight into mediocrity and helplessness.
I’m honestly not sure if it was strength of willpower that brought me back to the real world or my overwhelming laziness reminding me that if I moved back home I’d have to move all my crap out of College Station first. I mean, there’s a reason some people paint mountains and some people climb them. Can’t the same be said of those people that stake their claim in an already well settled territory rather than venturing beyond their adolescent residence? I know I can no longer judge the stay at home millennial, because I faced that path, and I almost walked it..