The Possibilities of What If: Off the Grid and into the Water....or to the Grand Ol' Opry.

What dream would you chase if you had a year to yourself? What is your "What If?"

What if, for a year, your life was directed by personal passion and the possibility of what could be?

Most likely, Responsibility would present itself as a hurdle—work, kids, bills, college tuition…..but What If?

What if, No Harm, No Foul as Responsibility took a back seat to Chasing a Dream or Trying that One Thing you always wanted to try?  What If work would wait for you, kids would still get bigger and louder, your spouse wouldn’t leave you and your friends would save you a seat at the bar?

What would you do because you wanted to, not because it’s a good move—like getting an MBA, taking self-defense classes or learning another language….but because of What If?

One friend of mine, a property manager with all the right industry initials after her name, dreams of driving a school bus full of high school students....probably for a day, not a year… she envisions the kids hanging out the windows, loud music reverberating from the high-backed vinyl covered seats, peeling out from stop to stop with the teen riders idolizing her, thinking she is VERY cool.

Another friend, Emmy on her mantle, held in high esteem by network coworkers, would check out for an amazing adventure with NatGeo as a field photographer.  Another would become a Vacation Travel Package Tester, leaving soccer practice and five kids in order to critique long trips.  Still another would step away from the responsibilities of a successful medical practice to join a band and fulfill his musical aspirations.

My own musical abilities are more an interest than a passion but what if I decided to finally learn to play the banjo well, setting my sites on entertaining an audience at the Grand Ol’ Opry?  Or perhaps I would avoid divorce for practicing the bagpipes in the basement and head to Scotland to learn from the masters of the craft.

What If you went all in? 

Would you be willing to be off the grid completely and pay someone to work your body so physically hard that afterwards, simply climbing the short flight of stairs to your room for a rest was a struggle? Would it be worth it to go through the challenges of punishing, physical preparation and the mental strengthening required to get through it? EVERY day?

I have learned a lot from my friend that is all in. I envy his capability of singular focus and comparatively, my most Herculean physical efforts of note were 19 hours of labor with my first baby and bicycling 500 miles across Iowa with 10,000 other crazy people—twice.

I have learned, most importantly, to ask, “If not Now, When?”

My friend is one of thousands of athletes who, over the centuries, have chosen a path well-worn by like-minded men and women dedicated to being exceptional at their sport.  Olympic Hopefuls, we call them.  In reality, that often painful pathway is traversed only by the talented and devoted few that recognize the fleeting window of Time that marks the length of their journey. They drive themselves to capture their moment, as it will not present itself again. Bodies age, Responsibility calls loudly from the back seat and it is the rare participant in the process that reaps financial reward. Their Olympic Gold may be but a golden recollection:  I was there.  I earned my chance.

Why would anyone choose to be all in?

Already Champions in Life, they are fortunate to have found their passion. 

They are in it because they love it.

Because of What If.


Pursue your “what if”!  If you would like to help one of our local swimming Olympic hopefuls, Eric Knight, and his fellow SwimMAC Team Elite athletes finish what they’ve started at the Olympic Time Trials in Omaha, NE (June 25th-July 2nd), visit www.swimmaccarolina.org and click to donate $20.12. Any and all donations are greatly appreciated and tax deductible, going directly to helping these self-funded athletes cover their expenses to Omaha. 

Follow Team USA in London at the 2012 Summer Olympic as they go for Gold!


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