Like much of the world, I've been catching some of the Olympics over the last week and marveling at the strength and dedication of the athletes. These people have spent years of their lives training and working and perfecting their skills. Injuries and set-backs happen, but the athletes persevere. They are there to win but what really impresses me are those who may not win but end up beating their own personal records. It's about growing and getting better.
Closer to home, I watch my oldest daughter, who is a highland dancer. She's been dancing since grade one and is now entering grade ten. Whenever we talk about extra-curricular activities at the beginning of a school year, she makes it clear that quiting highland dance is not an option. She will take it no matter what else has to go. Her skills grow every year and she has set a goal to test for and receive her teacher's certification when she is old enough. But highland dance is not easy for her. She has knee and ankle problems that often make the dancing painful and this week as she is preparing for competition, the pain has prevented dancing altogether. Yet despite the pain, she loves to dance. She loves beating her own personal best.
My own sport is writing. I know, I won't lose much weight that way. It's a mental sport. And just like any athlete who works hard to perfect their skills, I work hard to improve my writing. Today I received a rejection in the mail. As always, it set me back a little. But my coach (husband) pushes me on and won't let me quit. When I wonder if the time and expense invested are worth it, I remember the athletes who physically push themselves to the limit to be better. They have no guarantee of winning a medal and my daughter isn't guaranteed a medal at her competitions. Yet they all continue because they love what they do. Somehow it is part of who they are. Writing is the same for me.
As I read the words I labor over, I can see the improvement in them. I'm reaching and passing my own personal bests, and maybe someday I'll even get published. For me, that would be better than any medal. Until then, I continue training and competing in the writing world. There is no guarantee that I'll ever reach my goal but I'll never know unless I keep trying, and anyway, writing is part of who I am.