Most of my life was spent trying to perfect something. As a young kid, I tried to perfect whatever sport I was playing. As the only girl in my family with four older and one younger brother who all were successful in one sport or another, I grew up watching them, learning from them, and surpassing them in many ways. I had a natural talent with hand-eye coordination and mastered softball, tennis, and basketball. I was recognized by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) for doubles-tennis and even played competitively after I graduated high school. My first passion was softball and for many years I was the number one draft pick. Why am I bragging about my talented youth? I want to make a point about focused intent.
As much as I loved team sports, I discovered my true passion when I competed against myself. In my mid-20's I learned about triathlons. I enjoyed running and cycling, but swimming was never a strength of mine. When the challenge came, I faced it with focused intent. My first triathlon was with two other coworkers who ran and cycled. Getting the short straw, I entered the waters off Redondo Beach with 200 other contenders. The chilly water shocked my system and caused me to gasp as all around me people splashed into the waves with reckless abandonment. I paused a moment to let the frenzy pass and began a systematic and rhythmic pattern of swimming that became hypnotic. The mile-and-a-half swim seemed like only moments in my mind as I exited the waters, I touched the hand of my partner who took off on the bike. We won fifth place in our division and for the next ten years I lived the life of a part-time triathlete. In my early 30's I felt bored and unchallenged with competing because finances, time, and a lack of talent that limited my ability to excel. I loved the challenge of pushing myself to my limits and cycled 100-mile races in Mexico and San Diego, "For the love of the sport." At the age of 38, I felt I needed to push myself even harder and ran my first marathon in Anchorage, Alaska.
With all the trophies, metals, shirts, and hats that I collected over the years, my greatest accomplishment wasn't until I became a mother. The exhaustion of late nights with a crying baby couldn't compare to running a race. The marathon of 26.2 miles didn't prepare me for the races through the yards that lasted years. The jumping for layups and sliding into home plate never brought me as much joy as my baby girl. The trophies and metals of my past are long gone having been replaced by the smiles and laughter from my grand babies. They will never know my love of the sport, but they will certainly know the love I have for them.
Life is not a race – but indeed a journey. Be honest. Work hard. Be choosy. Say, “thank you”, “I love you”, and “great job” to someone each day. Go to church, take time for prayer. The Lord giveth and the Lord taken. Let your handshake mean more than pen and paper. Love your life and what you’ve been given, it is not accidental – search for your purpose and do as best you can. Dreaming does matter. It allows you to become that which you aspire to be. Laugh often. Appreciate the little things in life and enjoy them. Some of the best things really are free. Do not worry, less wrinkles are more becoming. Forgive, it frees the soul. Take time for yourself – plan for longevity. Recognize the special people you’ve been blessed to know. Live to today, enjoy the moment.