Those who know me, know that I found my first love at a young age. The first time my feet found skates and those skates found ice, my heart also found happiness and my soul, comfort.
For anyone else lucky enough to discover something in life that ignites this kind of passion, they understand my love affair. When I'm on the ice, the world slips away. The tension fades, the stress melts, and I feel truly at peace with the universe.
Though figure skating always has and always will bring me this kind of joy, the sport started out as much more to me. For eight years I truly believed it was all I wanted to do in life. I was utterly amiss to the reality that only an elite few could turn competitive figure skating into something more than just a future of touring with Disney on Ice. My highly loving parents (and little sisters) believed in me and supported me right up until the very end of my fantastical delusions, when I became old enough and mature enough to see the reality of the situation.
After falling head over heels in love at the age of five, I then experienced my first painful break-up at the ripe age of 13. It took me some time to come to terms with the fact that my one and only ambition in life (up until that point) of winning an Olympic medal in figure skating would have to be let go in favor of a more practical career path with a higher chance of success. Like any other fresh break-up, returning to my love made me nostalgic for the passionate feelings I once harbored, and filled with wonder if my decision to part ways would lead to regret later in life. But time of course heals all wounds, and now returning to my love years later is like falling into the warm embrace of an old friend. Someone who's there for you when you need them, but doesn't feel neglected when you wait too long to visit.
There is one exception though. Every four years the "what ifs?" become hard to quell, as the rest of the world if only for a couple weeks, sees the unbridled emotion, intensity, passion, and beauty that made me fall in love in the first place. It's hard not to watch the Olympics and feel a sense of rejection seeing others so happy in love...a love that seems to have chosen them over me.
Then I think back to the 1998 Olympics and remember what it felt like to cheer on my figure skating idol Tara Lipinski, as she became the youngest athlete to win an Olympic gold in the winter games at the age of 15 (watching the end of that program when she knows she's skated well enough to win still gives me chills). And I realize that there are hundreds of thousands of little girls and boys around the globe that are watching this year's Olympic games along with me, dreaming just as I did, with the kind of wide-eyed spirits that make them believe Olympic dreams really can come true. And there's no harm in believing...
So let the Games AND the dreams begin. May this year's Olympic figure skating events inspire someone as deeply as they once inspired me. I guess I don't mind sharing my love with the world for a couple of weeks. After all, love is meant to be shared with others :)
Skating is something my sisters and I will always have
The most beautiful rink in the world, Rockefeller in NYC at Christmas
Another beautiful outdoor rink, Union Square in San Fran at Christmas