I took the weekend “off” to read a couple of novels and watch the Summer Olympics. I feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Event after event I watched in awe as the young Olympic athletes performed after years of training. For some it was their first Olympics; others were veterans. Some seemed nervous; others excited. Many waved to their fans both in the spectator stands and watching from around the world. I watched the excitement of both expected and unexpected wins as well as the disappointment of heartbreaking losses.
But, all of these athletes were winners simply because they were there. After the women’s 100 meter relay a reporter asked first-time Olympian, thirty-two-year-old Carmelita Jeter if she was disappointed she hadn’t won the gold in her race. She had finished 3/100 of a second (a second!) behind defending gold medalist Jamaican Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. Carmelita Jeter showed her maturity when she smiled brightly and said, “I just won a silver medal.”
Perspective. It’s all about perspective. Ms. Jetter could have spent the moments following the race playing the “if only” game. “If only I’d leaned forward… If only I’d come off the starting block faster…” Instead, she chose to embrace the moment and savor that she had just medaled in The Olympics. The Olympics!
There’s something here all of us can learn. There will always be someone out there who’s better at what we do that we are. Always. Even Ms. Fraser-Pryce has a next race to run. But if we do our personal best, we deserve to take pride in our work whether it wins a Pulitzer or sits in the bottom drawer of our desk and is never read by another person. It’s a waste of time and energy playing the “if only” game. We are writers. Let’s celebrate. That in itself is an accomplishment.