Thursday, October 14, 2010

A New Winding Path

Something that I've told myself all along, as experience electrifies lightning throughout the atmosphere, is that if it isn't a challenge, it probably isn't worth doing in the first place.

So far, my swimming journey has been rather effortless. I've been able to coast alone on good graces, karma, and luck. Don't get me wrong, I have appreciated every bit of it... being someone that hasn't felt that sort of forward propulsion much in her life in the last couple of years. I have soaked it all in, almost to the point where I have lost sight of my original mantra:

If it isn't a challenge, it probably isn't worth doing in the first place.

That's when, in my new-found habit of daily swim research, I came across the freshly published list of Paralympic events for London 2012. I quickly scrolled down the list to look at time standards for all of my favorite events. N/A. Wait?? What is that supposed to mean? I scrolled through the remaining events in my classification. N/A. Wait! Except for the majority of the freestyle and butterfly events, my classification events are "not applicable"? Could this be correct?

With all kinds of worries and questions and potential disappointments running around in my head, I quickly phoned the only source I could think of to set me straight. He was even uncertain. In light of my recent successes in confidence, I didn't even hesitate to go straight to the source. So, I emailed the International Paralympic Committee myself.

I had my answer within a few, nail-bitting days. Apparently, it has been decided that any of the events where there isn't enough of a population to inhabit them will be eliminated in the events list; therefore, 99% of all of my classification events.

Immediately, I was crushed. My heart sank deep into the folds of my intestines. I was lost. My journey had always been very specific in terms of being a linear progress starting from now and ending in London 2012. Now what was I supposed to do?

The answer: WORK HARDER.

The process, the step-by-step venture, is what this journey is all about. Glitches in the system and bumps in the road should be clear indications that there are lessons to be learned and emotions to be felt. They are all reminders that I am alive and reaching for more. The news about the Paralympic events list is a neon sign reminder that I must push harder than ever before. I must gaze inside of me deeper than I had ever dared. I must trust in myself in ways that I have always feared.

This news is no longer a setback to me; but rather a twist in the pathway of my dreams, winding to challenge me to accomplish new heights that have been left unimaginable otherwise.

So, my plans have changed, but only slightly. My goals are greater. Now, I have the opportunity to attempt to qualify to the Paralympics in events that are ABOVE my current classification, swimming with athletes with more functional abilities. I also have the opportunity to concentrate on strokes that I would have rather left for dead than swim in a meet-- the dreaded freestyle and butterfly.

The path hasn't changed. The path has only become more beautiful; being able to see the outline of endless fields and sunshine, in the midst of that very-purposeful, winding earth for only me to follow.

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