Well it's finally the weekend and it's officially spring break. I couldn't be happier to have a few days off, relax and unwind after the past few weeks which have been quite busy. No, I'm not jetting off to any warm tropical islands (though I would give anything to be going there right now) but I am looking forward to being back at home and having some time to do whatever it is I want to do. I never like having to pack and unpack all of my things for just a few days and then have to pack and unpack them again, but I suppose that comes with the territory of living away from home.
In an attempt to pack as lightly as possible, I only take the necessities...with the exception of shoes. You never know when you're going to need heels, sneakers, black boots, brown boots, rain boots, Chucks, or slippers, so I needed to bring them all with me. But one thing I hardly ever pack is pajamas. I figure I can always toil through my closet and find something random to wear...usually a mismatching pair of sweatpants and an old tee shirt from a school field trip. That's pretty much what I ended up with this time, but instead of a field trip tee, I dug up a shirt from a gymnastics meet I had competed in back in 2000. The only reason it has lasted this long is because it was three sizes too big for me at the time, and I never really had the chance to wear it. Don't you just hate that free shirts are never the right size?! Anyway, after reliving some great memories of my gym days, the fact that the year 2000, a whole DECADE ago, slapped me right in the face. Ten years ago?? Seems like it was just yesterday that I was swinging from the bars and flying over the vault like it was a walk in the park. I don't know why or how I was so fearless, but now just the thought of performing those elements makes me feel uneasy.
But back in the day gymnastics was my life...seriously, I was a gym rat. It took up many many years of my life and I spent hours perfecting flips over a four-inch wide beam, enduring the most intense physical workouts, and learning not to get upset when the kids at school made fun of me because I "had bigger muscles than the boys". But it was all totally worth it- I learned so much about hard work, determination and self-control all before I was 15. Plus I got to do some really awesome stuff. Besides competing in meets all over the place, I got the chance to see some great things, including seeing the 1996 women's U.S. Olympic team practice. That was one of the greatest memories I have from my childhood- those ladies were my inspiration and my biggest role models.
So I thought today I would share a piece of my memories with you and feature a quote from one of the girls that I admired most on that '96 olympic team. It's easy to see why I looked up to these girls so much after reading this quote...
It’s human nature to be timid in the face of obstacles, but I have learned to believe that challenges are opportunities for genius to shine. In order to feel alive, we have to accomplish things that we once believed we could not." -Dominique Moceanu
This is so inspiring, and it comes from someone who has really accomplished some great things. Life is for living, and if we don't feel "alive" each and every day, then we know that we are not living life to the fullest. Sometimes it takes a challenge for us to stay on our toes, to keep us motivated and challenged, and to allow us to accomplish the things that we thought were impossible. It's easy to go through each day by taking the easy way out, but the only way to spark that fire within us is to go out and do the things we never had the confidence to do. Challenges are the opportunity for genius to shine, but unless we are willing to face those challenges, we can never experience that great feeling of accomplishment. So let's take a word of advice from an Olympic gold medalist and make a promise to believe in ourselves and to feel alive each and every day.
Keep Smiling,Optimal Optimist