On July 23, 1996 in Atlanta, Georgia the women of the US Olympic Gymnastics team captured the first team gold in history. Also on this exact day, right around that very moment, I was welcomed onto this Earth. I often wonder if that is why I find such a deep passion in the Summer Olympics (particularly gymnastics) every four years when the games roll around.
I am perhaps the least athletic person to ever roam this Earth. I never joined a sports team and rarely find enjoyment in watching sporting events. However; this past year more than ever before, I have become greatly invested in the Olympic Games. Even though I have yet to master the simple art of a cartwheel, gymnastics is by far my favorite event. With every twist, flip and dismount I am captivated. I am so eager to watch the five brilliant, fabulous, artistic and talented women shine in the weeks that follow. There is something so thrilling in watching groups of incredibly gifted athletes represent our wonderful nation. But I find it even more thrilling watching these individuals live out their dreams.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines a dream as “a strongly desired goal or purpose.” In this past year I have done a great amount of reflecting on dreams. I often felt discouraged that with everything going on with my health, I would not get a chance to live a normal life and work towards achieving my own dreams. My dreams went from thoughts about future careers to more serious matters like seeking good health and my sense of freedom again. I dreamt about the moment I would be released from the hospital and be able to live my life again. I am so blessed to be able to say that just a few months later, my dreams came true. I am home and healthy and because of so many amazing doctors, nurses and surgeons, my health is perfect. Because of my donor- my angel, my new heart is functioning flawlessly.
Realizing that I now have my whole life ahead of me, I was able to create new goals. I can now create new dreams each day to work toward and to smile about. I may not know what the future has in store, but I do know that I want to change the world with my message and my story. I may not be earning a gold medal for my nation this month, but I know I have words to share and I hope with all of my being that they can leave some sort of impact. This past year I found my own sense of gold. I found gold in the littlest things around me. I found gold in the love of my family, friends and community. I found gold in the kindness of strangers.
Watching the pure bliss and shine of someone else achieving their dreams fills me with joy and gratitude. I watch my older sister live her dream each time she picks up her flute and fills a room with her music. She has such a gift when it comes to performing and currently she is sharing this gift throughout Quebec, Canada. With every performance she impacts another life with her melodious sounds. I am honored to be her sister.
This weekend when the 2016 Summer Olympics kick off in Rio, with just the click of a button we have the power to watch hundreds of athletes live their dreams as they represent Team USA. There is something so inspiring in watching these athletes show the world their incredible skills after an insane amount of practice and sacrifice. These athletes are an inspiration to all and I am delighted to watch the next few weeks of events unravel.
As the wise and talented Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” My advice for everyone is to follow your dreams- as cliche as that may sound. Life is too short to have any regrets so one should always follow their heart. Whether it be a specific career path, a change in lifestyle or a specific passion, always do what makes you happy. Create your own personal gold medal.