I have a confession to make right off the bat. I’m not good at a lot of things. I’m consistently settled in bed for the night before I’ve flossed (judge away). I like chicken parms more than I should. I don’t always respond to texts. There’s a long list.
I’m okay with the fact that I’m not perfect, even though I never settle for not being perfect. It’s confusing.
I think that one of the most fascinating aspects of life is the idea that we want something we will never attain: perfection. Whatever that even means to us.
Perfection is a silly word. It’s possible perhaps in bowling and I don’t even know what else. Yet we aim for it in almost everything we do.
Here’s a story.
If you know me at all, and even if you don’t, you can assume that I’m obsessively in love with the game of soccer. It’s how you might feel about your children. It’s my life, it’s my love, it gets me out of bed in the morning when Dunkin Donuts doesn’t. To me, it’s the most glorious thing in the world. The odd thing is, I’ve dedicated my life to it and yet, I am nowhere near perfect at it.
And I realize, like the rational human being that I am, that perfection is unattainable. So that’s not what keeps me moving forward.
What has driven me from when I was five years old until today (33 apparently) is the idea that I can change who I am. That I don’t have to be content with the training session or game I had yesterday. I have seen myself progress from a little peanut wearing her shinguards over her socks to a bigger peanut who knows that if she ever wears her shinguards over her socks now, it’s just a terrible life choice.
When I graduated from college in 2006, I had no idea what the next chapter of my life would be. There was no professional league. I played for teams during the summers, but for the majority of the time from 2006-2008 I just trained. I had to change the player I was if I wanted to be a professional player. Luckily I had a trainer and mentor who not only taught me how to be a better soccer player, but also taught me how to be a professional. I had to keep progressing. I couldn’t stay the same. And I still have to keep progressing because the game doesn’t stand still for anyone.
I wake up every morning fully believing that I can make a change in my life for the better. I can be better. That’s in soccer and in everything I do in life. And you better damn well believe that it’s hard and it’s work and it can be frustrating when it doesn’t always go as planned. That’s life. Progress isn’t possible without some frustration, so I’ve learned.
I’m going into my 10th year as a professional player. I feel great and retiring is a thing I cannot fathom still. It’s still too fun. There’s still too many things I need to improve on. (Like a completed nutmeg on a goalkeeper.) I'm playing because I think I can still make a difference.
As we have seen in all that is going on in the world today, it’s not perfect. We are all well aware of that. But I hope that people realize that every single day, no matter what circumstances arise, that we can change the things we can control and we can also heavily impact some things that may seem out of our control.
One of my favorite new quotes is this:
“One person in pursuit of excellence raises the standard and performance of everyone around them.” (I'm not sure who said it)
This quote can be about each and every one of us. It's not designated for anyone special.
Anyway. I’m on the train of not giving up on myself, on my people, on this country and this world. I’m not giving up because change is so possible. Sometimes we just have to start small, let the dominos fall and remember that feeling you get when your dentist, in his/her demeaning tone, asks if you have been flossing regularly. They know the answer. Everyone knows the answer damn it! But in the back of our minds, we all know we can be better.