After 633 weekly missives over a 12+ year span, Extra Points has been retired. The newsletter is now called “Chasing Unleashed.”

There’s a saying in golf that we players are always “chasing scratch.” In other words, chasing that place of nirvana where everything finally falls into place and we reach some level of perfection. That’s about 2% of the golfers in the world.

Likewise, I think that as humans, we are constantly chasing a level of being “unleashed;” by my definition that place where balance, confidence, and joy are a constant. In this case, we likely will be chasing unleashed for our lifetimes, always striving to improve. And that’s not only okay, but the way to live.

And since Captain Jack lived “unleashed,” and I seemingly was always chasing him, it seems fitting to make the change now.

Today marks my mother’s 98th birthday. Yes, she passed away just over seven years ago but that makes it no less her birthday. And this date still resonates with me even though she’s no longer with us in body, yet still in memory.

As much as my memory recalls the days of my youth when Mom was younger, I still will default back to the final five years of her life when she battled dementia. In retrospect, my guess is we battled it more than she did. At some point, she didn’t understand that she even had it, but we sure did.

Mom lived with Barb and me for two years after Dad died, and before we moved her to a memory care location when it became too much for our “skills” to take care of her. Too often, I harken back to times where my struggle with patience, empathy, and kindness were tested. And the number of times I flat out failed!

The challenges were real. Mom looked the same, but her behavior, actions, and words were prompted by this horrible disease. For us, it was easy to forget that and lose patience, empathy and kindness.  It was when she finally was moved to memory care that the ability to be better at all of those kicked in. The constant stress of caregiving had lifted and I specifically was able to be just her son again. My time spent with her was better and more rewarding for me – and probably her.

Yet that didn’t keep me from feeling deep guilt over how I sometimes responded to her. While it’s logical to say that we were under great stress with the caregiving, it doesn’t come close to eliminating the guilt. Honestly, there’s some of it still to this day which comes back into my head on significant dates like today.

We all must deal with varying levels of guilt over things we did or didn’t do both personally and professionally. Some guilts are much weightier than others. Many can be logically explained, but don’t help.

What I’ve learned is that I had to give myself permission to feel that guilt. Trying to be logical didn’t help me; it was finally the acceptance that this guilt is real and needs to be properly processed to diminish the impact.

I’d offer that same advice to you.

If you’re playing in the Back Nine of life like me, you’ve experienced or are still experiencing levels of guilt, even if it was from long ago. In order to “chase unleashed,” it becomes necessary to face that guilt, allow it to be present, process it, and then move on knowing it will sometimes sneak up on you at different times. Don’t allow it to waylay you; simply acknowledge, accept, and move on.

The consequences of not doing it are serious, because there will be a cumulative effect of all past “guilts.” It’s better to leave those behind and accept the scar tissue as reminders to be better in the future. And that will ultimately lead you to becoming more resilient and better able to overcome future adversity of any kind.

Keep chasing…

Quote of the Week:

“Negative emotions like loneliness, envy, and guilt have an important role to play in a happy life; they’re big, flashing signs that something needs to change.”

~ Gretchen Rubin

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Unleashed is the registered trademark of Toro Consulting, Inc.

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