Did I have a good sized ego when I was successful in sports and business? Absolutely. Some of that ego came naturally. Parts of it came from sport coaches who taught us to convince ourselves that we were at the very top of our sport…which was often not exactly true. Another part of it came to be from a need to cover up my own insecurities…so I would puff out my chest and ACT successful. Oh my.
I just read a book on Phil Mickelson…the great golfer. I found it a bit painful, as I admire him, understand his personality, understand his weaknesses and find a lot about him that I can relate to directly. One exception…I can not relate to his talent and success…way out of my league. The book (Phil by Alan Shipnuck), puts Phils ego on display…and makes me cringe at some of my own actions over the years.
I say all this to note that ego can be retired a bit in our senior years. In fact, when I let it jump up on the table when talking with friends, I often also find that I am exaggerating facts. My old track coach mentioned to me, after a speech I gave, that I had become a lot faster over the years. A nice way of telling me to just use the facts and not to improve them over time. A good lesson for anyone with an ego.
HOWEVER…I do not think it is healthy for any of us to put our egos completely aside in our senior years. I hear people my age tell me that they feel unimportant now…and they have either forgotten or tend to diminish their life accomplishments. Pshaw…I say! We are what we are…our past and present. And I have yet to meet a person that is “Unimportant”…I have met some jackasses and the like…but everybody is important to someone and to God.
So…”humble” fits better in retirement..but the amount of time that has gone by from the best of our accomplishments, to now, is only a factor of…time. It is not a diminisher of our worth…of our value as human beings. I think us old farts need to be proud of our past and present…and then stand out a bit by how humble we are about our lives. At least that is the theory I am going with…God knows I have a long way to go to bring that into full play.
ps…the accompanying photo is of my father-in-law, Bill Collins…may he Rest In Peace. He was not a big fan of this photo for some reason. However, it was the biggest head I could manufacturer in Photoshop and, I suspect, an attention grabber for this blog. I can not ever remember him bragging about anything other than a massive marlin he caught to win the Balboa Bay Club Marlin Tournament back in the day. I miss the big guy and apologize for still having fun with him when he is not around to defend himself…but it is a small apology, cause the photo makes me smile each time I see it. You might want to remember this photo next time you are about to ask me to take your portrait.