For those of you who don’t know (~99.9%), I used to be an aspiring Olympic athlete. Maybe it is my inherit competitive spirit or a little bit of only child syndrome, but I wanted to be able to say I was the best at something. That I competed with the greatest athletes in the world and was able to hold my own.
I dreamt of being the youngest American show jumper in history. I didn’t need to think about that long. My favorite animal was and always will be the horse. My all-time movie was a biography of how the Morgan breed came to America (eventually the Family Video store gave it to me because no one else ever rented it), I read every horse magazine I could get my mitts on and frequented horse camps (though I was not big on sleepovers, I had to make sacrifices if I was going to be an Olympian).
My training came to a peak when my family moved to Hawaii, near a beautiful stable. I had my own trainer, my own horse to ride and my own riding boots. Even as a child, my eyes knew when they saw a solid pair of boots. This was my dream. And my little world came crashing down all with the help of one sentence; “Ashley, we’re moving back to Minnesota.” Northern Minnesota? You can’t be serious. I can’t ride up there. The terrain, the wolves, the winter (albeit beautiful). Ah, the death of a dream.
As I religiously watch this year’s Olympics, I can’t help but think of young Ashley. Her dream. And I can’t help but tear up every time I see the American flag raised in the medal ceremony. I think of how hard these athletes have worked, how much they have sacrificed and how proud their family must be of them – but mostly, how proud they must be of themselves. The moral of this post is to never give up on your dreams. Don’t let the “northern Minnesotas*” stop you. Like your mother always told you as a child, you can do anything, honey. It’s cliché, but hey, clichés are true for a reason, no?
You want to be a fashion designer? Do it. You want to be a doctor and work to find the seemingly impossible curse for cancer? Maybe you’re what the world has been praying for. Want to be an actress? Join a local show. Want to be an Olympian? Start training. Or maybe it’s as simple as wanting to be a better person. Start by making small changes. Start today. Start now.
By the way, this entire post was inspired by the below picture. I’m CERTAIN it’s what I would have had in my hair during my Olympic ceremony. A ceremony which is yet to come, just of its own kind and in its own time. But adorable, right? Gold and sequins are always in, not just every four years.
*Intended for metaphorical use only. I love Minnesota. Go Gophers.