Michelle Wie Interviews Her 10-Year-Old Self
Dear 10-year-old Michelle,
You are a cocky little kid—super cocky—so you probably won’t even listen to any of this. You are really good at ignoring instruction.
If I can get you to do just one thing though, please, it’s this: Wear your retainer. Just trust me on that one.
You never think there's going to be any hard times. Because you are so, so freaking good already, you’re thinking, "Oh, next year's going to be even greater than this year, and it’s going to get even better the next year, and better the year after that, and the one after that." Don’t expect it to be this way forever. No one really prepares you for the hard times.
Even now, you know you want to be good at this sport. And deep down you already suspect that you’re going to turn pro someday. Well, that or a Stanford professor and be in school forever. You’ve already figured out you’re not fast enough for tennis.
But when you picked up your first club at four years old, it took maybe a year to figure out that this sport could be your life. And remember how by 7 you were playing rounds as good as most adults. And now you’re already playing USGA events.
You’ll have so many opportunities in front of you. Just be grateful for everything that's happening right now. The good times don't last but the bad times don't either, so just kind of ride whatever you're going to go through and everything will be okay.
And not to scare you, but you’re going to break three bones in your left hand while doing a track workout. With a trainer even. Sorry about that spoiler. But it was cold—a new track. You tripped. Side note: maybe don’t try to run backwards since you can barely run forwards.
Every obstacle changes you. And yes, there will be more after the broken hand. Things that will leave you questioning if you can ever play again. Wrist. Ankle. Neck. Left hip. Knee.
When these things happen, take it easy.
Don't be so stubborn. Listen to your doctors. Listen to people telling you not to play. And take your time.
Don’t say to yourself, "Oh, it's fine. It's okay. It doesn't hurt. I'm okay," when everything is not okay. You and I know you’re smarter than that.
It's definitely hard. It's tough. It's tough when your body just fails you, or it seemingly fails you, and you get so stuck at that moment, but you can be pretty proud for coming back. And no matter how bad things get, never give up and get past it.
Have I lost you yet? Do I sound like a jaded crazy older sister? I hope not. This next part is important.
Be patient and do your rehab, even if Dr. Smith smells bad—never lose focus, never give up. It's hard. You gotta swim through it, you gotta do whatever you need to do to wake up that day and do what you need to do. There's so so much in front of you.
Don’t be scared to try new things. That brings some of the biggest joys and excitement in life. Be open to new things. Be open to everything.
Maybe tap into your creative side sooner. Actually, definitely, do that.
You don’t need to look at friends and think, “Sports is my thing, and arts is their thing.” Don’t be afraid of trying things that are artistic or creative. Let yourself experience art, experience culture, sooner and just being part of something.
You’d be surprised. You are going to Stanford (surprise, no surprise) just like you think you are, but you aren’t going to be a math major (you are not as good at math as you think you are, by the way). Those years are one of the best decisions you can ever make. It’s not easy to separate golf from life, but when there’s something else that’s the focus, like school, it’s easier to escape that pressure. Just enjoy those years. Relish them. It’s one of the best times of your life.
Sure, so many people might say you can't be in school and golf at the same time, that you are stupid for even trying. But you know what? That’s what middle fingers are for. No one ever really did that before, but you can show that it is possible.
Now, about mom and dad. You’re lucky to have parents who don’t care about what anyone else says. And everyone has advice or something to say about you and what you should or shouldn’t do. People say things like, "Oh, they are pushing her too hard," or "Playing in LPGA tournaments as a kid is ridiculous."
Block it all out. You are really good at not listening, which maybe you get from mom and dad a little.
We don’t do anything normal in our family. Other kids' parents might be scared and want to do the normal thing or kind of stay in the lanes. You make your lanes.
You’ll beat balls for hours and hours and hours and hours and hours and hours on end just for the sake of doing that. You may miss out on some things. You have to sacrifice sometimes when you’re an athlete. You can't have it all. You have to choose what's important to you.
Sure, there will be days where you are like, "Ugh, this sucks. I want to be at the beach and not practicing."
It all pays off!
Golf is a hard sport. It's a solo sport, so the highs are really high, and the lows are really low. This might sound corny, but learn to be nicer to yourself and to be more forgiving and to focus on the opportunities, the road, and how to get there versus the end result.
It’s really just about enjoying your wins and enjoying the good times. Enjoying the good rounds. Instead of always just focusing on the next one.
No one's perfect, no one can be perfect, so it's just also again learning to forgive yourself and to be nice to yourself and try to be a good person. Growing up in the spotlight isn’t easy. Being in the limelight, which you are going to be from here on out, is a lot of pressure. You should be really glad there is no social media yet.
Invest in Amazon, Apple, and fidget spinners.
P.S. You’re still always going to be best friends with Megan.