At five feet tall and 100 pounds, with silver hair and 93 years of life under her belt, Olga Kotelko may not appear at first sight as a force to be reckoned with. Would it shock you to know that this woman has won hundreds of gold medals and set many world records in track and field in the last 18 years alone, and that at her age, she still runs, hurls hammers and javelins, and leaps into long jump pits without giving it a second thought? I read Olga's story in the newspaper yesterday morning, and I was delighted and inspired by her accomplishments and her attitude towards life. When it was suggested to her that what she does is amazing, Olga's reply was a simple, "Amazing? There's nothing to it. If I can do it, why not?".
I want to take this wisdom that spunky Olga has garnered from 93 years of living and apply it daily to my 39 year old self. Not that I want to be a track and field star (I have visions of knocking myself unconscious with the hammer or of face-planting mid-sprint on the track like I did just by walking on the sidewalk one day back in university -- I have a scar on my chin to prove it!), but I do want to really live life, just because I can. I want to break free from the warning voices in my head that tell me I shouldn't, from the worries that tell me it would be better if I didn't, from the doubts that tell me I probably can't; I want to drown out the anxious "what ifs" and replace them with confident, triumphant "why nots?". I want to see each day for the gift that it is, and fill it with moments that matter to me and make me happy-- enjoying laughs with my family and friends, pursuing my passions, taking time to breathe in the beautiful world all around me, realizing that it's never too late to try something new -- all for the simple reason that I should, because I can. That, I think, is living life to the fullest.
Whether I live to be 93 years old or not, I want to have lived with the vigor and passion and optimism of Olga Kotelko. How exhilarating to run headlong down the track of life, truly enjoying whatever it is that each of us can do. Why not?
When he was small, my youngest son had a habit of filling his pockets with treasures he encountered in his daily adventures. I didn't always understand the value he saw in his chosen objects -- really, how many rocks and sticks could one boy keep? In his eyes, though, each one was beautiful and important. Life is just like that on a larger scale, isn't it? We gather up the precious bits of our experiences and save them all to learn from and enjoy later. Perhaps you'll find a little something here that you'd like to keep in your own pockets. Thanks for visiting.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
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