I wrote yesterday about those crazy Olympic athletes who risk their lives flying up in the air on skis or racing over the ice, and how their parents should have stopped them from these maniacal pursuits. Then it dawned on me that the parents were probably encouraging their little tikes all along.
These parents must have demonstrated a “Can Do,” attitude to their children. Here’s a normal response to a small child wanting to race down a hill full speed on a couple of boards: “Are you crazy? You’ll kill yourself.”
Here’s the response from Olympic parents: “Not only can you fly down the hill like a blur, I will buy you all the expensive equipment and lift tickets, and drive you two hours to the mountain every weekend.”
That’s a can do attitude, which I think is probably essential to any potential neck-breaking activity. But it’s not just limited to sports. A can do attitude carries over into all walks of life.
Which is why I think it’s so sad that I seem to only have a Can’t Do philosophy. I tried to keep track of how many Can’t Do’s I say in a given day, and it’s about a zillion.
Here’s a sample list:
I can’t see without my glasses
I can’t reach the clock to replace the batteries
I can’t stand waiting in lines at the grocery
I can’t walk that far
I can’t remember the subject of this blog
These are self-imposed limits I put upon myself that keep me from being as rich as Warren Buffet and as talented as Meryl Streep. My can’t do attitude is the only thing keeping me from the successes I know are out there waiting for me to pluck them like low growing fruit.
I’m taking a stand right here and now. I’m not going to play second fiddle anymore – even if I could play the fiddle, because I now realize that I, too, could be great in way more ways than just shuttling kids around and shouting at them to be quiet. Perhaps I could aspire to swim the English Channel, or climb Mt. Everest.
There’s only one problem. What busy adult has enough time to practice at being great? You can’t just walk up to the base of Mt. Everest in your flip flops and start moseying up to the top. There’s equipment to purchase, and hours of hikes and exercises to get ready. You have to have Shirpas! How can I, a woman without visible means, work, have a family, and do all that?
The answer is, I can’t. Oh crap. I didn’t mean to say that. The answer is, I could if I really wanted to, because I’d make time and I’d earn the money, by golly.
But now that I think this through a little more, maybe this is why Olympic athletes are all young. Their parents are their athletic supporters, and they’ve got all the time in the world to practice.
While I, sigh, may not be able to pursue dangerous, death-defying dreams of my own at this juncture in my life, I can still keep a can do attitude about my everyday activities. I can push away that brownie. I can get to appointments on time. I can exercise when I’d rather be sleeping in.
And I can see without my glasses, if I put the zoom up to 300%. I feel like a champion already!