While watching lithe young bodies dive into pools with barely a splash, whip around uneven bars, and swim lengths of a pool keeping a pace that makes you breathless, you realize that you'll never be an Olympian. That makes you think of all the other things you'll never do, never be. You'll never be Miss America, dance with the Rockettes, or get a Ph.D at Oxford.
You're ok with not being Miss America. Do normal people ever really want to be Miss America anyway? And while you get a twinge about never having danced with the Rockettes, the DNA precluded that avenue. And Oxford? You've spent far too long in college as it is.
But the Olympics? The irrepressible, stubborn part of you thinks, "Well, why not?"
The pragmatic part of you thinks, "Because you're 40, you're barely 5'3'', and you have chronic shin splints."
And the irrepressible, stubborn part of you says, "You might consider it at least."
Pragmatic you says, "Really? The last time you swam competitively, your bathing suit fell down. Directly in front of the boys' swim team. Remember?"
Stubborn you sniffs and says, "That was nearly 30 years ago."
"Exactly! Thirty. T-H-I-R-T-Y. Three. Zero. Your day has past." Pragmatic you arches her eyebrows and puts a hand on a hip.
"But what about archery? Or maybe dressage? Curling?"
"Horses have big teeth."
"Archery? You know, Amazons and all that."
Pragmatic you rolls her eyes.
Irrepressible you waits.
Pragmatic you mentally locates the bow and the target in the basement. "Fine, but if you get poison ivy, or bitten by a herd of horseflies, or get lyme disease, not to mention blisters and sore muscles, don't think for a minute that I didn't warn you."
Irrepressible you feels the pull of the bow and hears the twang of the string as an arrow flies by.