I could have been one of these dudes holding up his gold medal.
I remember having a strong desire when I was in elementary school to become an Olympic swimmer. It was sparked by a tour of the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, my hometown (way before the advent of Michael Phelps). The house in which I lived my formative years was a mere 15 minute walk from the facility. The desire was so strong that I would fantasize about eating in the cafeteria, bunking with other athletes, travelling the world. I was, still am, a pretty badass swimmer. I think I probably could have done something Olympian by now if I had really pursued that dream. So, why didn’t I chase it?
Usually, I do not entertain thoughts about abandoned childhood dreams. They were typically outrageous things like making a music album with Mary J. Blige as my mentor or being a secret agent spy kid. But, this dream was something that could have been and was not so ridiculous. Maybe it’s the global consciousness shared through the Olympic Games, or the heat, but when I remember this childhood dream, it bothers me. Why did I not go for the gold? How did I wind up as a jaded 2L law student staring at a screen feeling like he must post a blog about this? How can an aspiration morph into something completely different without taking notice?
I would hate to be so cliché and utterly cynical by thinking it is “just life” and having to deal with the “real world.” My mother was awesome by encouraging me to pursue things that were not necessarily of utility in the “real” world, like swimming lessons and pottery, but after a few years of passionate study and work, I drop it all together. I was worried that it was because I lacked either focus or an ability to follow through, but I think it’s because I get bored.
Whenever I find something that deeply interests me, I tend to dive right in and saturate myself in it. I had an obsession with Queen Elizabeth I and read as many books as I could and watched as many docs or movies about her. The current leader fetish is Margaret Thatcher. I also had quite a prolific period of drawing, mainly in charcoal. All of these pursuits have a common denominator: my interest waned after a year or two.
I do not think it’s because of growing up or having to take on more responsibility that caused me to change my dreams. It was just boredom. Sure, I love swimming and traveling, but when I think about it, being a star athlete seems a bit dull for my taste. I would be oppressed from all the handling and restrictions on how I can live my life. Spontaneity seems to die and deviancy is shunned. I love to draw too, but I would feel useless if I just drew things for a living. Sometimes I do wish I was passionate about a subject enough to create something out of it, like a career, but experts are just people who know more about one thing and less about others. It seems the only interest that has stuck around is my love for politics, policy, and communication.
I am hoping that this blog is a big step towards discovering and fulfilling what my passions really are because surely I have more creative drive than what the left side of my brain likes to think. Maybe I will pick up charcoal drawing again and see if it sticks this time, or some other whack-a-doo art project that I will enjoy. Meryl Streep, as Margaret Thatcher in the Iron Lady, said nowadays people want to be something, instead of doing something. Well, I AM already, and I feel like what I am doing now is Olympian in its own right: living and loving God, myself, and others. So, whatever endeavors I take on whether it’s investing more into my blog, becoming a lawyer, or an ambitious art project, it can be Olympic if I want it to, even without receiving a gold medal on a podium at the end.