The Mulligan

Image courtesy of Pixabay photographer  TheDalleyLama .

Image courtesy of Pixabay photographer TheDalleyLama.

This piece was originally written August 23rd, 2016. It was revised for content May 2nd, 2017.

Darling Reader,

If you’re seeing this letter, it means I’ve fled to Bhutan in search of a better existence… 

Ha! I wish! -_- What you’re really about to read is a musing on how I’ve chosen to apply a golf term to my professional life. Not as glamorous as that Bhutan opening, but maybe one of these days. *She sighed wistfully* Anyway, a college chum of mine once told me that I should learn to play golf, for professional reasons. I prefer tennis, but I know he’s right—he’s always (annoyingly) right about this kind of thing. Even though I’ve yet to hit the green, from the comfort of my office I’m already practicing my game: I’m taking a mulligan.

The MacBook Air Dictionary app defines a “Mulligan” as noun 2. (in informal golf) an extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard.

In my open letter “Swan Song,” I made it apparent that I will no longer be a ghostwriter; the so-called ending of this story left us with a rather obvious question: what now? I have a fresh start, but what does that mean? How does one build a new career when all of their previous success is not up for discussion; how do you move forward when references are both unable and unwilling to vouch? The current state of my life is a story which cannot be un-written, so a new one must begin. If this sounds inspirational, don’t be too impressed; this is essentially my only option.

It’s strange to think that even though I’ve been a creative professional for over a decade, in many ways it’s only now that I’m testing my mettle—in the traditional sense. Doing things publicly is so different from being able to do them privately; in many ways, ghostwriting was the best of both worlds. True, I never got to stand in the Sun and have praise and acclaim shine down upon me, but there was also very little risk of directly receiving scorn.

It’s only now that I realize my patrons shielded me during one of the most delicate periods of my life—my youth; this is why I harbor no resentment or ill will toward them. Being a wash-up isn’t fun at any age, but it is particularly painful when one is young. It’s a long fall from ‘greatness ‘to ‘has been,’ and it must seem endless when you still have decades of living ahead of you. Strangely, I’m somewhat thankful that I can only speculate this point. Though I must concede, it has crossed my mind that my best years are already behind me; I sincerely hope that’s not true—not now. Not when I’m finally ready to stop hiding…

*Pauses thoughtfully* Make no mistake; I understand perfectly well that taking a mulligan can’t erase the past. In 2016, there is no way for me to go back in time and wake up as my 15 year old self, still cognizant of the knowledge and experience I wield now. The stroke might not be on the scorecard, but I did swing the club… What I’m trying to do is move on in the game of life. I’ve been so fixated on the swing I missed, that I neglected to realize that there were still 16 holes ahead of me, and I might’ve sunk every one of them.

Choosing a new career is not any great feat, particularly in this day and age. Furthermore, as a Millennial, it’s expected that I’ll have multiple careers over the course of my life. There is nothing incredible at all about this story, other than the fact that it is mine—thus, it means a great deal to me. I’m starting over from the bottom; I’ve only my wits and acquired skills to aid me. PLEASE let the saying, “There’s no where to go but up,” be true. It has to be; I’ve got to find a way to make it so.

Well, let the game begin! Now, shall we step up to the tee and swing? Make this one count…

-Hesper Rose