Watching the Olympics last month made me restless. It might seem ridiculous, but whenever I watch competition on that level, I wonder if I could have what it takes to do that — if I could, under any circumstances, compete at that level, in anything. It’s not that I hold any illusions of actually doing it, but I wonder if I could. And not necessarily something physical — could I devote enough of myself to ANY pursuit to be able to compete at the highest levels?
I certainly have the drive, the ability to be single-minded, the tendency to be obsessive about something when I decide I want to excel at it. So, could I? Do I have what it takes?
Maybe it’s an overdose of ego, but I think I could. I think I could devote every waking moment, every ounce of energy, to a single goal. I think I could sacrifice the idle things I want in pursuit of a dream. I think I could become completely consumed by one purpose, and put it first. I think I could.
So, why don’t I? I’m good at a lot of stuff. My chosen sport is one that people my age (and even older) excel in, so there’s still time. I’m a good writer, with a certain amount of talent and some good ideas. I could go after these things, in a real, determined way. I could.
But, the truth is, I don’t want to. I can’t be great at everything. Time and energy are finite. Professional athletes, Olympians, actors, politicians, artists, writers — they all devote a lot of themselves — everything they have — to their pursuits. And right now, I don’t want to give that much of myself.
I’ve chosen another path. I want to be a world-class mom.
Being phenomenal at anything doesn’t happen in our spare time, it doesn’t happen in the moments left over from another passionate pursuit. I don’t think I could be a world-class rider, writer, dancer, or whatever, and then come home and devote what was left of myself to being an amazing mom. (Well, I think I could, but I don’t think it would work.)
I’m a professional mom. I left my career to stay home and do this, full-time. I think it’s important, and I’m excited to be able to do it every day. I want to be great at it. I don’t think I could be great at it, though, if I were devoting myself completely to being a world-class something else. I need to passionately dedicate my energy to this if I want to get the results I’m hungry for. (So many things suck that energy away: Facebook, tv, gossip, pastimes, games, anger/resentment. Must work on that.)
If I want to be phenomenal in my chosen passion, I’m going to have to give that energy to my kids. That’s what I want to be great at. That’s what I want to be known for, more than anything else. The audience is very small, but the reward is very great.