Friday, 10 August 2012

Olympic Dreams and Daydream Believers

As I write, the Olympics are in full swing. I have been swept along by the giddy rate with which Team GB have maintained a daily triumph of medals after medals - more silver and gold each day and as a Yorkshire girl, I have been rather proud to tally the number of medals this fair county has accrued. I know at one point, Yorkshire had more medals than Australia, though I didn't like to boast to my friends over there, instead maintaining a dignified, muted pride occasionally hinted at through various social media updates.

Watching these dedicated athletes displaying their glinting discs so proudly, I've been considering the time and persistance, the sweat and the emotional hurdles they must have gone through before achieving this level of excellence so desperately strived for. Note that I say strive, not crave or desire. Semantics matter.

How many other great swimmers, gymnasts and athletes started out with them so many years ago? How many others attended the Saturday morning swimming sessions at an early age and raced along side them, showing the same kind of talent? Those who succeed are the ones who keep trying. The Olympics are evidence of this to anyone who may still be looking for an easy route to success.

Craving and desiring are all very well, but they belong in the land of daydreams. While I spent many years wanting to be a published author, craving the buzz of seeing my name in print within the pages of a magazine or newspaper, I found myself no nearer my goals as time ticked along.

For years, I had filled notebooks and the most elegant of hardback journals with poetry, musings, diary entries and short stories, rarely sharing them and only to the most select of audieces, namely my doting parents and my ever enthusiastic grandmothers. Sharing with them was my safe option, as I knew they liked my work - they loved it in fact, often exclaiming that I should send it off and one day we would drink champagne at the first of many book launches. But that was their job. my parents and grandparents were wired to love my stories, to encourage and motivate me, for without them I may falter and give up on my dream.
Yet,deep inside I always knew that until I sent my work to agents and publishers, how would I ever know if my work was really any good?

By stepping outside and allowing others to see us at this most vulnerable of times as we try to succeed in something that means so much to us, we then step closer to our goal. One step braver, one step closer.

As Olympians bring home the fruits of their labours, I see many around me inspired to step outside and be seen - cycling, running, swimming - one step braver and one step closer to being who they want to be.
Not everyone wants to achieve such levels of greatness, but by being inspired and allowing these rolemodels to help us come closer to our own goals, we can all learn from their dedication and commitment.

So be brave and be bold. We must let ourselves be inspired. That's what makes life so interesting. Acting on our ambitions separates the brave and the bold from the daydream believers. As life ebbs away, I want to be able to say that I acted on my ambitions. I don't want to say I was just a fabulous daydreamer.