08/29/2012 08:36 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

That Stupid Feeling

I hate feeling stupid. But we've all been there: That Stupid Feeling that comes when we should know what we are doing and we don't. Or worse, when we don't have a clue as to what we should do and there is no one who seems willing to help us figure it out. That's when a lot of us shut down and head to the couch and turn on the TV (if we can figure out the remote) and pretend we know exactly what we are doing or just watch others with That Stupid Feeling figure it out for us on the tube.

I've had a lot of That Stupid Feeling lately. Probably because I've been on vacation, and also because I am purposefully trying to do new things now that I'm 50 and the clock is ticking. (Truth is I get That Stupid Feeling at work sometimes, too, but I've had years of practice at working my way through it until I figure it out). I don't have a mom and dad alive anymore to help me figure things out...and even when they were alive they had their few things they could teach, and I think I got what I could from their advice and experience. So now it's up to me, and I realize that I hate That Stupid Feeling. But I hate it so much I'm determined to work my way through it, too.

Let's take golf, for instance. For decades I dismissed it as a stupid sport. Then I took a lesson and discovered I love the feeling of whacking a ball really hard and far. Take that! But actually play a game? I was lucky the first time: A wonderful woman named Liz Reap Carlson took me out for my first round. Aside from the fact that she's a world-class track cyclist, I'm sure she gets That Stupid Feeling sometimes, too, and she was willing to help me through it.  It was fun, although I lost about 15 balls (there was a lot of foliage on the side of the greens!).

Unfortunately, Liz now lives in California, so it was up to me to be the one to know what to do when I took my teenage daughter out to play. It was a new course, and there were lots of stupid questions like, "Where do you get the cart?" and, "Where are all the bathrooms?" (and the Stupid Feeling answer to that one is there are not enough of them for woman to truly enjoy the game without planning in advance). Suffice it to say we played and had fun, even when I asked an old guy where the hole was and he said, "It's on the other side of the hill, but you probably can't hit it that far"--and then I did, except he wasn't looking anymore.

And then I got mad for all the times--daily, actually--that other people make me feel That Stupid Feeling even when they don't mean to. But they do. Although it felt good to play golf on a hot, sunny day with my daughter and cross that first hurdle together. Suffice it to say I finally understood the deep appeal of a club sandwich!

Later that day, I got That Stupid Feeling talking to a cyclist about foot pedals and all the different clip-in styles and what they do and don't do, and I got both embarrassed and pissed because it's so needlessly complicated and hard to figure out without getting That Stupid Feeling, when all I want to do is ride a freaking bike. A good bike. And I'm sorry that with my day job and kids who also like to do lots of things it's hard to find the time to get out for a ride or a run or a round of golf. And sometimes I think people make it purposely complicated so they have an excuse to feel smart at others' expense.

My first instinct when I came home from that day was to either a) cry, or b) hide and never tell a soul how I felt. But then I realized that c) I'm a blogger! And I bet there are other people out there who feel the way I do and who could use some sense that they/WE are not alone. And then I thought d) I run a company that can help people get over and through That Stupid Feeling. We don't do it enough, perhaps. Some of our brands do it better than others.

So I'm determined. I'm determined to face That Stupid Feeling as much as possible and stare it down and get over and through it, and to help as many other people as possible to avoid it and get through it and know they are not alone. And also to let them know that there is fun on the other side of it. And things like club sandwiches!

And thanks to the few dear friends I have who have helped me through That Stupid Feeling (Liz and a few others who shall go unnamed). Thank you. Thank you.

Hat Photo Credit

For more from Maria Rodale, go to