Monday, July 22, 2013

Don't Say You Didn't Try

I swam in high school. When I decided to go to Clemson University I asked my swim coach if he thought I was good enough to swim there. He said no.

In 1995 I was swimming eight times a week but for all that work, I'd only dropped three seconds off my 100 butterfly. I'd seen myself get stronger and faster but I'd need to drop four more seconds to make the team at Clemson, my coach said. Four seconds seemed impossible.

So I finished the high school season and the summer season and when I went to Clemson in August I joined the crew team.

Say it was a chance to do something new.

A couple of people to whom I've told that story said they would have responded differently. 

My friend Rob, a 1997 Naval Academy graduate, said, "See, that's when I would have worked my ass off to prove him wrong."

Just the other day a woman I'd only just met, a nurse and mom of three, a part-time tri-athlete who said things like, "I just want to do something," when describing her workouts, agreed with Rob. She said she'd work extra hard to prove my old swim coach wrong. Then she said her daughter was the same way and it was very frustrating for her.

And I thought, "How does Hollie react when she's told she can't do something?"


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gaining Perspective



This morning I worried about paying myself, paying my bills, earning more clients, finishing my dissertation, getting some classes to teach, establishing credibility, and whether I should bother trying to publish my fiction at all.

This morning someone I know is sitting in the waiting room while her sister has surgery for cancer. Right now. She’s there, waiting, right now.

When I reminded myself of what she’s going through, I felt a new but familiar kind of space.

Perspective.

When I reminded myself that nothing is permanent and every moment is a gift,

When I reminded myself that there are people on this planet living separate but equally important lives,

When I reminded myself to get over myself, I felt space.