Most days, I seem to have at least one customer ask me whilst I’m at work, if I enjoy it. After this question, I know the conversation will go one of two ways.
I always simply respond that it is just a part-time job, whilst I’m training as an athlete. After expanding that I am hoping to some day represent my country in athletics, throwing the javelin. Some look at me in wonder and ask if they’re talking to someone famous and normally end the conversation with words of encouragement and best wishes on my dream, hoping to see me on TV. Others look at me sceptically and decide to ask me another question.
“Is there money in it?”
When I respond… “not really” it always amuses me when they look at me with an aghast expression and ask me very seriously “why do you do it?” if there is no financial incentive.
I answer that it’s always been a dream of mine. To represent my country in a sport and know I’m the best there is in the country at that point of time.
However at this point, although I know how they will respond, it always confuses me. To me, my answer seems to make perfectly good sense; however it has become apparent that to many this doesn’t make sense at all.
In fact I have had numerous people look back at me with a blank or quizzical face wondering if they’re speaking to a psychiatric patient or simply state I should stop doing it and start earning a respectable wage.
To begin with, these comments, in all honesty, knocked me back. After finishing university, with an upper-second class honours in Environmental Science, I fully intended to go travelling around Asia, then get a well-paid job in London and live the ‘high life’. But then the 2014 Commonwealth games was on TV that summer and I started to have the same thoughts I always had when I watched athletics on TV… could I be competing there right now?
So I took a big leap and decided I was going to put those plans on hold and do everything I could, to be that person on TV. However these customers suddenly started to make me wonder if this decision was a big mistake and complete nonsense, balderdash, codswallop, hokum, flapdoodle, tommyrot, piffle?
However I came to the realisation I’m not acquisitive unlike my conflicting friends, the monotonous people, who question my sanity and just don’t understand my unorthodox view of life. These contrasting customers, to those I spoke of earlier seem to have this idea of what I call the step-by-step life plan, i.e. go to university, get a good job, buy a house, get married, have kids (not always in that order, but you get the idea).
Sounds wonderful, but what about all the dreams you have? Isn’t there more to life than just doing the norm? If doing all those things are your dreams fair enough, having a family is definitely one of mine. But I have other dreams that I want to pursue before this status-quo way of living and thinking inevitably takes hold of me in some way.
But this realisation only came about because of my friends and family, not from me. Without their support and belief in my decision, and continuous encouragement, I would be on the step-by-step life plan, earning good money, an engagement ring in my pocket and an offer for a house already put down.
Of course not everyone will understand my decision, and I don’t expect everyone to. That’s the point; I’m living my life and my dreams. Not everyone’s views on ‘how to live’ is the same and maybe I’m being too simplistic, separating people into dreamers and robots, but it works for the point I’m trying to make.
Too many times people live their lives working, with dreams held close to their heart but never pursue them. Regretting later in life that they didn’t live enough in the moment and never chased their dreams. I refuse to be one of those people and I encourage you to be brave and not be one yourself. Believe in your dreams, chase them and fulfil your life to the full. A quote that I love to read, I got from my coach.
“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavours to live the life that he has imagined he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours”
Henry David Thoreau
Right now I want to become an international athlete. Will I make it? Who knows, but one thing I do know. Later in life when I reflect back on it all, I will know I tried and I will never wonder or regret this decision. To read the sequel of this post click here.
Since writing this post, a year on I have reflected on my initial words on this post and believe it’s well worth a read ‘Live in the Moment’