I cannot get enough of the Olympics. Any event and there is immediate buy-in. It may be the remnants of my yesteryear days as a cheerleader or that I simply love the excuse to stay inside during 101 degree days and watch tv – but I love the Olympics. I do the obvious: I choke up when the cameras scan to the parents, I cheer on my feet during a heated race, and I cry when the athletes realize their victory. But more than anything, I find myself thinking about the losers.
I can’t stop from thinking about how it feels to be in a race against Michael Phelps knowing you will lose. Or about the person in a race who is dead last by more than a few strides. Or about a gymnast who scores high, but is ineligible to compete due to a rule.
I think about all of the dreams that go into the Olympics – thousands and thousands of dreams coming from every corner of the world and merging into one event. And I am reminded of how hard it is to realize that a dream you hold may never come to fruition, for those moments in life when you have to accept defeat, and for those days when you realize that a dream is just simply not within your control.
As an optimist and an overly-enthusiastic competitor (as I like to say – my sister says it another way), these moments are painful for me. And this is precisely what a person, on either side of a divorce, will experience at some point in their journey. From the day you ask or answer the question of marriage with a heart filled with joy, the dream begins of a life spent aging gracefully together.
Divorce shatters that dream and a multitude of other dreams that were a natural extension of the life dreamed up together. There are dreams of raising your children together in the same house, dreams of a retirement location, dreams of having a hand to hold when treating for a scary medical diagnosis. These lost dreams are painful to accept.
But you have to keep moving forward – dream new dreams. You have to be the person that races against Michael Phelps to lose and just know that the particular dream of winning a gold medal in 2012 in the 100 meter butterfly was not meant to be a dream realized. The new task is to accept that loss and move to the next dream. And to keep getting up and keep refocusing and keep striving. I am most inspired by the losers in the Olympics for this very reason – they keep dreaming, despite loss of one dream, they keep dreaming. And you can, too.