I used to enjoy dancing a lot. I was never especially good at it, I didn’t spend a lot of time on it or make any large efforts to make it an important part of my life, but I enjoyed what I did of it. I liked listening to the music and trying to move in a way that fit with it, not only in time with the music but being moved by it and expressing how that music made me feel. Now, when I see professional dancers perform, I have a lot of respect for them, and I’m reminded of my own dancing days. “Wow,” I think to myself, “I was never that dedicated. They must really put a lot of time and energy into that. I can’t imagine being that into dancing.”
I love swimming, just as I love water. I can swim until I’m too exhausted to swim anymore and then I’m still not tired of the water; I want to stay and float longer, to feel the water holding me up. I was never big on competing, but if there was one thing I enjoyed about racing, it was pushing yourself until your lungs were ready to burst and going fast. I didn’t care very much about what my time was or how I compared to the other swimmers, nor did I ever or even now feel much pride for the times that I won, because I just liked that feeling.
When I see other swimmers who are much better than me, I understand a little of how hard they had to work to get where they are, and I have an enormous amount of respect for them. I think that in some way, they must love the water just as I do, and I wonder at their dedication and love of what they are doing that can drive them to reach these levels. I know that I could never come close to that; I got a small taste of just what you need to do in order to get there, barely a hint of what they go through, and I knew that was even too much for me. For all my love of water, in swimming I can’t even compete at the community college level because I couldn’t bring myself to do everything I needed to.
It’s not that I think that I lack conviction in general, that I can’t stick to things. I just lack it when it comes to swimming or dancing. I don’t love them that much, and if I tried to spend large amounts of time on them, I would feel bad about the time that I wasn’t spending on other things. I can’t make sacrifices for swimming or dancing and to be really good at them, sacrifices would be necessary.
I believe that I have a lot of dedication. When I commit to something, I stick with it; I keep my promises. Call it stubbornness, if you will, or maybe relate it to my need to feel that things are complete; maybe it’s the reason I’m an “overachiever.” I know there’s something in me that lets me really lock onto something and keep going no matter what until I get to the end, and that this something can be useful when I use it right.
And I know that there is something that I am as dedicated to, that I love as much, as world champion swimmers are to their sport or brilliant dancers are to their art. I love writing and I will never stop writing. I’ve proven to myself that I can make myself write a lot, even every single day, and that takes dedication.
I’m going to keep at it, too, as much as I can. I’m not brave enough to take the risk of just focusing on my writing, though; I’m studying psychology so I’ll have something else to fall back on, a day job if you will, both because I need security and because my family has strongly emphasized for years that I can’t count on writing alone to support myself. So I’m going to earn a degree and maybe even do something with that degree, but during the time I spend in school and beyond I will keep on writing no matter what. I need to write and I can’t do otherwise.
Because I need to write, I will make the time. But because I also need to be able to support myself entirely on my own, and well, I will take on this extra burden of going through school studying psychology. I’m determined to do well in school as a part of my goal to continue writing, so I’m confident that I can stand up to the challenges. I believe that I can do it this way — but if the time ever comes where I have to choose between having security and being able to write, I know I’d sacrifice even security because I’m dedicated to writing.