Can you believe the Olympics is over? I am kind of sad, thinking I am going to have some sort of Olympic withdrawal when I go home this evening and don’t have anything to watch. No more coming into work everyday asking co-workers if they saw particular events the night before, no more sitting on the couch every night cheering on the USA, no more obsessing over my favorite Olympians and following them on Twitter. It has all come to an end. In a way it is time to return to real life.
I, for one, really got into the Olympics this year, more so than I have in other years. There was something incredibly thrilling about watching the races, hearing the stories of the athletes and celebrating the victories alongside everyone I know since we were all cheering for the same team. The camaraderie. The support of a country behind you. It must be quite a rush for the Olympians.
It makes me think of myself and dealing with my own issues in my life. How important that camaraderie and support can be- whether you are on the large scale of an Olympic athlete or the small scale of a 28 year old trying to navigate the twists and turns of life. It can all come down to your performance in a particular moment. I sometimes feel the pressure of that performance in stressful moments with my family. You wait for your opportunity to say something and then you pray that when it comes you say the right thing. You pray that you are able to perform. You are also thankful for the support behind you in these instances. Even though that support team may not be present, you know they are out there. No one realizes how invaluable having a team of people rallying behind you can be until you face those big life moments- some are exciting, some are challenging, some are positive, some are negative- but the one thread they have in common is the importance of a support team in each of those instances.
How do you support your friends and family? Do you see the value of camaraderie in times of struggle as well as in times of thriving? How do you handle situations where you aren’t receiving the support you may need? Are you sad the Olympics is over? Did you enjoy cheering on Team USA every night? Did anyone else enjoy the Spice Girls performance at the Closing Ceremonies as much as I did?
I am still on quite a high from last night’s big gold medal victory by Team USA Women’s gymanstics! I managed to stay off twitter, facebook and any websites that may have leaked the results early because I wanted to watch and be surprised when it aired on tv. It was great. Such a feel good moment. When the announcers referred to the Magnificent 7 who won in 1996 I could remember everything about that evening. Dad, Mom, Sister K and Me all sat in the living room watching as Kerri Strug nailed her vault to clinch the win- I remember standing up and screaming out of excitement.
This is also another Olympic memory that brought with it another moment of reflection on the past. Thinking back to 1996. I was 12 years old. Sister K was 9. We were still living at home. Only a family of 4. Also having no idea what the future held. Here it is 2012. And things are a little different now. Mom has MS now. At 12 years old I am not even sure I knew Multiple Sclerosis existed and now it is very much a part of my daily life.
Last night instead of celebrating in the living room with Mom and Dad, we celebrated over the phone. I now have a new memory associated with women’s gymanstics winning gold and in 4 more years it may look even more different. In the same way that every 4 years the players may change at the Olympics but the events remain the same, the spectators and fans around the world also change. I don’t know why the Olympics has me thinking about the passage of time so much. I think Mom’s MS has something to do with it. I think comparing memories to the past also has something to do with it. But the lesson I am learning in the process is to cherish every memory- the past and the present because you don’t know what memories of the future will look like. I sit here and wonder what things will look like 4 years from now as I watch the 2016 Summer Olympics and the next Women’s Gymnastics team compete.
Do you ever think about memories of specific events of the past and compare them to the same events today? Did you watch the Fab 5 win gold last night? Where were you in 1996 when the Magnificent 7 won the first women’s gymnastics Olympic gold medal?
Me. Last night. Approximately 10pm at my kitchen table.
Staring into Sister K’s computer.
Sister K has just about finished her Masters degree. Today all that stands between her and the total bliss of being finished is a take home final. Last night all that stood between her and total bliss was a 10 page paper and a take home final. Together we finished that 10 page paper. At approximately midnight.
As I think about last night I am not filled with any feelings of being annoyed that somehow I drew the short end of the family stick. I am more filled with happiness and love. Sister K and I don’t keep score. I know that if I needed her in a bind she would be there in the exact same way. But it’s these moments that strengthen our bond so when bigger issues come along we can handle them together.
It’s nothing new here that we feel a bit overwhelmed by life right now. In a way the above picture sums that up as well. We were discussing this overwhelmed feeling over Chipotle burrito bowls earlier in the evening. Then we shifted to working on a 10 page paper. I feel this is how we cope. This is how we are going to cope. We are going to talk about it, come to no conclusion then we are going to move on to something else. Then we may shift back. The topic of Mom’s MS is going to be intertwined in our lives but we have to manage it in a way that does not allow it to take control of our lives. Last night it was intertwined with a 10 page paper and watching some Olympic races. A frustratingly complex 10 page paper that I was actually thankful for because it took my mind off another frustratingly complex issue that can’t be solved with a paper. I never thought I’d say it but last night I let the thoughts of a 10 page paper take over my mind and I enjoyed every minute of it.
When was the last time you wrote a 10 page paper? How do you prevent your mind from being consumed by complex issues that don’t have a clear solution? Do you love Chipotle burrito bowls as much as Sister K and me?
The Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony is tonight. I have been thinking about this a lot recently. Yes because of the Olympics but also because of Mom. It has made me think a lot about time. Specifically the passage of 4 years. What has transpired since the last time I watched a Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony.
It was July 2008. I had just finished graduate school and moved to the same city as my boyfriend to see if our relationship would work in the same city. We had been long distance for 2 years. That boyfriend is now Husband so I think you can fill in the blanks on if we succeeded. I was moving in with my college friend L. Mom was in town helping me unpack. My mom handled the movers arrival because I had just started working at my new job. The evening of the opening ceremonies she and I were shopping at Bed, Bath and Beyond for a few things I needed. We had dinner together at TGIFridays. Then Husband came over to my new apartment to assemble my bookcase and watch the opening ceremonies.
I am thinking a lot about Mom because so much has happened that I could have never predicted that evening as I walked around BB&B with her. The main difference, she was walking freely around BB&B. She was visiting me by herself. She was my fearless, independent Mom who arrived, took care of me, helped me unpack and then left.
Fast forward to today. Since then Mom has been diagnosed with MS (2009) and today is having incredible difficulty walking with her walker at home and using a wheelchair when we are out in public. I have been quitely thinking about this in the back of my mind over the past week almost in shock. In shock at how much life can change in 4 years. In good ways and bad ways. It makes me nervous for the next 4 years. I don’t know where Mom’s health is headed and it is scary. What form will life take as we watch the opening ceremonies of the next Summer Olympics.
So while the Olympics are a time of celebration and excitement together as a country, this time it has personally been a time of reflection about the past and the future as well as the present. It reiterates that I don’t know the course life will take. I cannot control the future. All I can do is prepare myself for the unexpected. I didn’t know then that I was preparing for today. The same way I don’t know how today is preparing me for 4 years from now. The future is an unknown. For all of us. But having seen how unknown it really is in comparison to 4 years ago I feel a little more nervous about it than I used to. A tough realization I am admitting to myself on this otherwise celebratory day.
Will you be watching the opening ceremonies of the Olympics tonight? Where were you 4 years ago for the Summer Oympics in Beijing? How do you handle the unknown of the future? Where do you hope to be 4 years from now?