the Olympics and greatness: my thoughts

Watching the Olympics this week has been wonderfully fun.  And a little depressing.

It's fun because we get to watch these amazing athletes, do things we probably never could, in front of the world.  We get to root for the ones representing our country and feel bad for them if they don't reach the medals podium. The attention of the much of the globe is focused on one small spot in Eastern Europe and it's cool to be a part of something so big.

But I've been thinking a lot lately about what my place in the world is.  What is the point of my being on this planet?  What is my purpose for being alive?

I watch the Olympians and think, "Wow! These (mostly) youngsters have found something they're passionate about, put in hours and hours of work, and have become so good at what they do, they get to showcase their talents to the world."

I remember watching the Olympics as a child--my favorites were the figure skaters and the gymnasts who were so graceful and powerful--and thinking, "I could do that! Maybe someday, I'll go to the Olympics!"

Now I'm 35. I have three kids and a mortgage. I will never be an Olympian. And it makes me sad.  Not because I necessarily feel a strong desire to be an Olympic-class athlete, but because I feel like my dream of being great at anything has gone down the proverbial pipe.

I'm a writer.  I've almost completed the third draft of a 70,000-word YA novel. I think it's a pretty good book, but nothing on par with Hemingway, Tolkien, or Austen.

I'm renovating my house on a very small budget, and I like the way it's turning out, but renovating my 20-year-old house isn't going to change anyone's life. My kids don't care.  My husband doesn't care.  My neighbors and extended family aren't benefited by it. I'm not going to win a prize for it. It's purely a selfish endeavor.

I blog.  I keep up this blog and my personal blog. I'm not very good at it.  I don't have the patience to do tutorials.  I don't have the time to write here regularly (mostly because of that book I mentioned before).

I'm an artist.  I'm pretty good at drawing, painting, chalk-work, coloring, graphic design and such.  Friends and family like them as gifts.  I would love to be good at drawing people so I could illustrate books or make a series of characters for a book or cartoon idea for my kids. I don't feel like I can draw from my head, though.  Copying what nature already made or what someone else has is the best I can do. And that's only when I force myself to take that much time, which isn't often.

I'm a mom. I can't really say I do anything particularly exceptional in that department.  Most days, I feel like pretty much anyone who is not a drug addict could do a better job of it than I am.  Some days I wonder why God cursed my kids with someone as messed up as me.  Some days I feel better about it than that, like, "Hey! I did okay today! My kids are happy, I'm happy, I played with them and got some stuff done.  I guess I'm all right."

I'm a Christain.  I love God and try my best to follow the example of the Savior.  I try to be non-judgmental, charitable, give of my money and time to those who need it. I do the things I've been taught will help me stay on the path back to our Heavenly Father. But I'm not Mother Theresa.  I'm not Ghandi.  I'm not even a good neighbor sometimes.

I could go on, but you probably get the picture. I don't feel like I'm living up to my potential. I don't feel like I'm doing anything "great." I realize that's how most people go about their lives. We do our best and that's all we can do.  What I can't wrap my head around is why that's okay.  How do we accept that our best is not really that great? How do we find happiness or joy on a daily basis when we know that what we do isn't going to add up to much of anything?

I also realize that this was probably not the best day to write this.  I'm feeling depressed today.  It's gloomy outside, my kids are sick, and I haven't been able to accomplish anything in a few days/weeks.  But this is something that's been on my mind for a while and it has helped tremendously to write it down. It's really hard for me to share this, but why write it if I wasn't going to share, right?  Maybe someone will feel better knowing they're not the only one who struggles with these ideas.  Maybe one of you can help me understand this in a different way. I hope so.  I hope we can all benefit from each other.

And I hope we can all enjoy watching the rest of the Olympics.  GO USA!!

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