I was reminded yesterday by a good friend of something I said almost a year ago. About dreams that push you to you to do what you never thought possible before. It was a nice reminder from her– a timely one, as they most often seem to be. Dreams should push you to your limits, I think they’re supposed to.
But rather than breaking you, they should make you stronger.
Last winter I drove down to Pennsylvania for a USDAA show. It offered the tournament classes I wanted, but more importantly, I would be able to see friends I don’t locally. Four hours down wasn’t too bad. It was bitterly cold to the point where I walked Bolt quickly at the rest stop and left the car running as he ate his dinner (and I grabbed noodles to go inside). The actual competition had been very successful– with Bolt exceeding expectations and picking up the qualifications we needed. Outside, the snow had begun.
Our four hour trek home took 10 1/2 hours. After five hours I had made it to the Tappanzee Bridge in New York, crawling at less than 10 miles an hour. I burst out crying before calling everyone who would listen, trying to get advice on what to do. I feared Bolt and I would be sleeping in our car on the side of the highway. My dad urged me to find a hotel. Joe urged me to take a break. I, on the other hand, just wanted to get home– so we kept going. It was by far the worst weather I’ve ever traveled through and my Toaster (read: Kia Soul) is seriously lacking in the four wheel drive department. Cars spun out in front of me every few minutes. Accidents piled up, the snow continued to pound the road– no plows were anywhere to be seen (at least until I was very close to home and they added another half hour to the trip). I joked that I had suffered from some sort of driving post traumatic stress syndrome after that. And yet, I didn’t regret going. I was proud of our results and of the way we had handled some tricky courses. I would have done it again.
So three weeks later I did. I drove out 6 hours to upstate New York to spend the night at a hotel and train with Nancy Gyes the following day at a seminar. It had been a Christmas present to myself. There was a threat of snow in the forecast and Joe, with raised eyebrows, asked if I was going to go. To me it was to be an invaluable experience. The answer was simple: of course.
I’m not sure the question of why ever even crossed the conversation. There’s a sort of driving undercurrent that keeps me playing this game– you must feel it, too. Part of it might be obligation, another might be routine (it’s just what we do), but I always thought that there’s got to be something else. The desire to get better, to get faster, to become a cleaner, smoother handler. But I have thought about why that desire exists. Why do we keep doing it? Why do we keep trying even after things haven’t worked out? Why keep trying when you haven’t reached your goal? I’m sure it’s no surprise that my ultimate goal for this sport is to join Team USA. It has influenced virtually every decision in agility and life over the last years. Where I work, where I live, what I train– and who I train with. Wedding date planning has to be strategically placed on the calendar, not to conflict with tryouts, important shows, and, if the dream is realized, Worlds themselves. Crazy behavior? Maybe a little. I’m fortunate to be marrying a guy who understands those dreams though and knew we’d work around them (lucky, lucky, don’t I know it).
And maybe it’s because why doesn’t necessarily matter. It’s a culmination of everything that has brought you as far as you’ve come that makes up the why. If anything it’s the wrong question to ask. It’s because this driving force has become more a part of you than almost anything else. When a dream becomes so important to becomes part of you. Part of your character. Your response to what it takes to get it defines who you are
That’s what a dream should do.I’m not broken because of it– I’m stronger than I’ve ever been before. The time will come when the dream is realized.