After the Olympics I thought long and hard about what I should do with myself. I knew I needed a break from training and I sensed a lot of opportunities to do things I had been saying no to for a long time because the Olympics was my singular focus; anything else would have to wait. So, coming away from the Olympics I developed opportunity paralysis. I felt this need to dip into all the finest things life had to offer. In fact, I started to feel a bit anxious about all the things that I could be doing that I wasn’t even aware of yet. I remember going to a seminar put on by former Olympians (some of whom were multiple gold medal-winning athletes) back in March, 2012 and they said: “You will be depressed after the Olympics whether you come first or last because the thing you have been striving for will be over). So, although I consider myself one of the lucky few who has not suffered post-Olympic depression -or at least not more than my usual neurosis- I started to worry about this depression that was apparently just around the corner.
Then I remembered what is important to me. I need to feel like I’m making progress toward a clear goal. It keeps me sane. Growing up there was always music and sports for me. They were the two consistent things in my life that stood the test of time while other interests would come and go. So I looked at my strengths and the things I had gravitated towards all my life the same way I did when I picked rowing as the sport to realize my athletic potential. The conclusion was that I should enroll in a jazz studies program in Victoria and throw myself back into music for a time. It’s a decision I won’t regret. I’m having so much fun, I’m connecting with something that’s been important to me all my life, and I’m still not depressed -imagine that! Oh, and I’m learning German because it’s never good to have too much fun.
The wandering eye is not just something that happens in relationships. It happens with our goals too. We make good decisions like the one I just described and then some sexy, pinned up, idea comes strutting into your brain telling you to jeopardize what you know is meaningful to you because you’ve decided you’re going to be a bush pilot. There’s a reason you have gravitated towards certain things all your life and that’s probably the better bet than deciding to become a snake milker.