Poker Face

Yesterday, a group of friends and I completed the first of what we hope to be an annual poker run.  For those of you who may not know, a poker run entails riding your motorcycle from location to location and drawing to card at each stop.   At the end of the run, the rider with the best hand wins a prize.

We ….. ok, I ….. decided to make each stop along the way a different Hooters location in the Tampa Bay area.  Why Hooters?  Partly because they were cooperative with donating give-aways for the poker run, but mostly because I possess a Y-chromosome. The ride was fun and, for all intensive purposes, very successful.  What started out as an idea turned into a fund raiser for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.  We raised $175 from entrance fees, which I know is not a lot, but every little bit helps.  The goal is to learn from this initial run and make next year’s run bigger and better.

I am very happy with how the whole event turned out.  From simple, fluky idea to a full-fledged event, the poker run was a great experience.  It wasn’t perfect, but for someone who has no real experience in event planning, all I can say is, “not too shabby.”  Still, I am reluctant to make a big deal of it all.  I pretty much spent the riding time from location to location thinking of what I could have done better.  I focused on the flaws and the mistakes and the incorrect assumptions I made in planning this run.  I couldn’t just enjoy it all because I was too busy planning on how to make next year’s run better.

So why is it that we do this?  I am sure that everyone has had moments where instead of being happy and taking in the sheer joy of the moment – in yesterday’s case the company of my friends – the focus is placed on what can be better.  Why do we as rational, human beings act so irrationally by not allowing ourselves to enjoy a job well done?  It’s a fine line, I think, between being obsessive and lackadaisical.

And we hear it all the time.  Professional football coaches who see only areas of improvement, so much so they miss out on the joy of winning the big game.  Spouses who are constantly critical of their partners.  Friends who just bring you down, no matter how hard you try to pick them up and help them see things positively.   It’s as if we sometimes forget that it’s okay to celebrate. That it’s okay to accept the minor flaws and errors because the appreciation of the bigger event, be it a win, a marriage or a great friendship, makes those flaws and errors virtually insignificant.

After all, nothing in life is perfect in whole.  There are snapshots of perfection, but anything done by human hands is, by definition, imperfect.  For as much as I have claimed to live the past year by my new life motto – to be intelligently immature – I still catch myself in that old ‘perfectionist’ mode.  Too concerned with whether or not what I am doing is absolutely perfect.  Too worried about what other may say or think.  Too consumed with an expectation of how things should be.

Yesterday was a reminder that life is about ebb and flow.  Both in the small picture of the poker run and the bigger picture of breast cancer and its victims, control is an illusion.  God’s will is the only perfect thing in life.  How we choose to accept that truth is what ultimately determines the level of inner peace and happiness we experience.

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