The Olympics always hold my attention. I love the games. I love the stories about the athletes and I love watching them perform.
I have great respect for the people who have devoted themselves to becoming the best in the world at a particular event. There is something beautiful about it all. Without a doubt I would give quite a bit to be able to say that I competed in the Olympics.
That would be something special. That would be a story to tell and I do love a good story. I love the tales that take me away and make me feel like I am a participant in a great adventure.
Friday night I watched the Opening Ceremonies and was struck by something as the athletes marched in. Almost all of them looked like babies to me. I don’t know what the average age is but I bet it is somewhere in the early twenties which would make me around twice their age.
There are definitely exceptions to that. Bob Costas mentioned that one of the athletes from Andorra is 61 and has been competing since 1976. Maybe there is still hope for me.
Follow Your Heart
Midway through the march into the stadium I wondered how many of the athletes are in it because they are following their heart. I wondered if some of them are doing this because it is all they know how to do. I expect that it is not the case for quite a few, but certainly there are a bunch that are “professionals.”
What happens to them when they can’t do it anymore. What happens when they have to change focus and walk a different path.
I suppose that you can attribute that to where I find myself standing in my own life. Not long ago I spent long hours questioning what it was I have been doing and where it is I want to be going. I sat up on multiple nights and tried to provide some clarity for what I want to do with myself.
The point was to figure out a destination and then put together a path to get there. It seemed like a good combination of logic, heart and intuition. So that is what I have been working on, following my heart.
Words That Move Me
Take a look at this excerpt from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essay on Self Reliance:
“There is a time in every man’s education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must take himself for better, for worse, as his portion; that though the wide universe is full of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him but through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which is given to him to till. The power which resides in him is new in nature, and none but he knows what that is which he can do, nor does he know until he has tried. “
“What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think. This rule, equally arduous in actual and in intellectual life, may serve for the whole distinction between greatness and meanness. It is the harder, because you will always find those who think they know what is your duty better than you know it. It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.”
I love that. I can read that over and over and find meaning in it.
It is 40 years since terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich games. The IOC refused to provide a minute of silence in their memory. It is shameful. I was quite pleased to hear Bob Costas talk about this during the entrance of the athletes into the stadium.
This time of year always makes me think about a bunch of different things. Some of those are covered below. If you read them you’ll notice there are some similarities between them but ultimately they are different.
She Wants A Telephone
My daughter is working hard to convince me to buy her a cellphone but it is not going to happen. I told her that 8 year-old girls don’t need a phone and that if she wants to call her friends she can use the land line, but she was less than pleased with that response.
She loves soccer so I told her if she works hard she might have a shot at playing in the Olympics one day. She asked me how hard it would be to make that happen and I said ‘hard.’ No need or reason to lie about it.
Just before bedtime I mentioned it again and said that if she wanted to do it I would do my best to help her but she needed to figure out if she wanted to do it to follow her heart or because it sounded good.
It is bedtime here. Going to sleep with ideas about opportunities and possibilities. Going to sleep knowing that I am doing what I can to follow my dreams. That feels pretty good.