The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports


January 25, 2008

disABILITY: Find child-like magic lost as adults


We can't just be careless and naive, but we can't just go around giving up our connection to the simple, magical, joy-filled things in life either.

I was certainly a dynamic child with an overabundance of creativity and energy at my disposal.

I remember being that way up until I was heavily involved with sports. That's about the time I recall a lot of my happiness, creativity and sense of adventure getting lost. I not only was trained to be the best swimmer I could be, but I was also trained to be extraordinarily regimented.

I was bound to a tight schedule that got more and more rigidly oriented around fewer and fewer things over time, until sleeping, eating, swimming and weight-lifting were all I did.

My main goal of making it to Sydney in 2000 became the only thing in my life. It seems so paradoxical to me how I spent so much time in the water and yet I lost every ounce of fluidity I had in my life up until that point. I suppose maybe my fluidity leaked out into the depths of the Olympic Training Center's swimming pool.

Unfortunately, I crushed my sense of life outside of my sport and spent the next few years having an honest-to-goodness identity crisis.

But, fortunately enough, I've been rediscovering my own dynamic sense of self in the last handful of years. And in that regard, I think the rewards I've experienced could easily rate right up there with this idea of living vicariously through a child. The only difference is, I am experiencing those things for myself. I don't need anyone else to be my excuse to experience any of it.

But that's not to say I wouldn't mind having a child someday to augment that sense of wonderment.

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