What makes you forget everything else?

Planted: 2021-12-07
Last tended: 2021-12-07

Around 11 years back on this day (2010-12-07), I was nervous about an interview I was going to have in five days for my first ever job. I was still in college and like most people, I had no clue what I was going to do next. My feeling at the time was that if I have more options, I can choose what I want to do rather than letting life do its own thing (a privileged position). And getting through this interview would open up the first option.

The closer I got to the interview date, the more pressure I felt. I tried many things. I would open up a blank page to write something. I would watch a movie. I would talk to my friends. All these things would work for maybe five minutes and then I would get the nervous feeling back.

When I was in 11th grade, I joined a new school. I made a lot of friends, most of them through a football team we created. We played football every weekend and this continued through college as well even though we went to different colleges.

The day before my interview was a weekend and I went to play football with my team as usual.

The moment I stepped on the pitch, I forgot about everything else. For those two hours, including the time we took after the game to discuss that day’s game, I only thought about one thing - football. To be more precise, I only thought about one thing - the next step in the game - whether that is a pass I have to make or a tackle or running back to defend. I did not for a second think about the interview. I did not think about the future. I did not think about the past. I was in the moment.

And everytime I played football, I thought about nothing but football. I enjoy doing many things in my life - code, write, cook, read etc (excluding the regulars like watching movies or listening to music). Nothing has ever come close to football.

Football also happens to be the only thing from that list that does not have a significant impact on my day to day life. I code for a living. Writing and reading helps me think and potentially, create a network. Cooking helps me eat delicious food, stay healthy and save money.

Football helps me in being friends with the same group of people from my school. I’m very happy for it and I will write a separate post. But it doesn’t have a significant impact on my daily life like my other interests.

I sometimes think that football makes me forget everything because I truly love it and I don’t have any other motivation to keep doing it other than just the love for the game.

When I write or code, whether I’m intentional or not, there is always an expectation to get something in return. With football, the only intent has been to play well, get better and enjoy the game.

This past weekend I played football again (after around 8 months). My teammates were the same friends from school whom I met 17 years back. The intention was the same as it was 17 years ago - to play well and enjoy every moment of it. The effect it had was also the same. I did not think about anything else in those two hours. The pandemic, the every day work deliverables, my to do list - none of those mattered (also, a privileged position). The only thing that mattered was the beautiful game.

Football is the only thing I do that makes me forget everything else in life.

What makes you forget everything else and be in the zone?

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