How ping-pong changed my life…
No one really told me that when I quit drinking that the “quitting” part would be the easy part. Unf*cking your brain after quitting is the next and most important challenge. Spending time with yourself to figure out who you are, why you are and what you want to do next is a massive obstacle that, for me, wasn’t and still isn’t an easy hurdle.
My therapist informed me that I was pretty much a textbook rigid perfectionist. “If you're not first, you’re last”. Right? Why do something if you're not the best at it or at least in the top tier? Right? When you play something, you play to win. Right?
For me, it was more than just over achieving. I had a mindset of wanting to do everything the most - drive the most miles, play the most gigs, play the coolest guitar riffs etc etc. Failure in my mind was never an option for me. Basically get the high score in everything you do… My brain would not allow failure. What’s the easiest way to not fail? Avoid any action that could result in failure.
It’s okay to be a competitive person, but when your mental health takes it to the next level is when you start missing out on a lot of joy in your life. Especially when you start ruminating on things you haven’t done yet and the failure that might occur if you are not perfect. How do you know you will fail at something if you don’t try something new? See where I’m going here?
As you are probably guessing, this led to an incredibly intense and stressful life inside my head. Over time leading to severe anxiety over anything I did. Sometimes setting myself to unachievable standards. Standards I would not set for anyone else but myself. You wanna know what the flip side to this coin was for me?
Depression… severe depression…
With that came low self esteem, sleep deprivation, binge eating and increased self medicating with alcohol.
So this brings me to ping-pong.
One afternoon my wife and I were walking at one of our city parks where we noticed there was a new “club house” and in it we found a ping-pong table. Now I’ve played ping-pong but not much cuz I learned at an early age that I sucked. So why play something I’m not going to win at? Right?
After her shooting me down and putting her foot down by not allowing us to play for points, I figured I would humor the idea and give it a whirl. Which was really way outside of the box for me.
Whelp… a half hour later and we were still playing. Not once had I thrown the paddle across the room. We just tried to keep the ball moving right down the center of the table. Back and forth and back and forth to each other. Just trying to keep a steady rhythm with each other. The sound became very soothing to me. No winning, no losing, no failure, not even a high score. Just two people “playing” a game together. This was a new concept for me.
Something so simple as ping-pong blew my mind. I had so much fun. Which honestly isn’t something that happens often when you’re hyper focusing on being the best. To actually enjoy something not related to guitar playing was something I had not experienced in a while. I had truly forgotten what real innocent fun was. With one simple tabletop game, my mind seemed to rewire itself.
Since then my wife and I play every time we walk by. Which can be three or four times a week. We still don’t keep score yet we joke about someday starting.
It’s made me wonder about what I have missed out on in my life. More importantly it has made me excited to try new things even if I’m not good at them.
Always remember that your health is your wealth.
Don't forget - 10/8 is the date at Cadieux Cafe in Detroit for Dylan's Fundraiser - Thank you to Lucky Monkey Tattoo Shops from the Ann Arbor area for Sponsoring and Organizing!
There will be lots of silent auction items - Artwork, Instruments, Lesson's, Studio Time, Rehearsal Space, Gift Certificates and more. This just in - Patti Smith is shipping out a package of goodies. Also, artists performing include Vin Dombroski of Sponge (band), Jimmie Bones, Heywood Banks , Jeff Grand, Kate Hinote, John Freeman, Andy Patalan, Lady Warship, Chef Chris of The Rumpshakers/Nairobi Trio and Danny Muggs of the Muggs for a tribute to the Rumpshakers sans Dylan.
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