I love watching the Olympics! There’s something thrilling in seeing people compete at their very best, sometimes finding victory and other times disappointment. I think of all the years these athletes have worked for one moment—the ups and downs, the sweat and tears, the encouragement and obstacles. While their battles unfold publicly across all media, most of us have our own less dramatic, more mundane “events” we’ve spent years working on.
Lately I’ve created a group of poems to send out into the world to try to publish this fall. One of the biggest mental obstacles to writing is rejection. Recently I came across a quote by Philip Larkin. He said, “Supposing no one played tennis because they wouldn’t make Wimbledon? First and foremost, writing poems should be a pleasure.”
We could substitute “Wimbledon” for “Olympics” quite easily, and you could substitute “writing poems” for just about anything, too. Thinking of all the people who play tennis, and basketball, and beach volleyball just for the sheer joy of it made me less anxious to send out those envelopes with poems tucked inside.
The joy of our actions should be enough, no matter what endeavor we’re attempting.
What work brings you joy?