Gopher Gold (Go For Gold)

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.
 
XO,
Ashley
 
*Intended for metaphorical use only. I love Minnesota. Go Gophers.
 
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