So what happens after you spend 4 or more years of your life pursuing that Olympic dream? You have done nothing but eat, sleep and think about that goal. You have organized your time and training so that you could do everything possible to increase your chances of success. You sacrificed, sweated profusely, managed massive frustrations, endured tremedous pain and deprived yourself of a normal life just so that you would be in a position to reach your dream.
That dream has been such an important part of your life for so long that it’s completely and totally disorienting to not have it in your life anymore. But guess what? After the Olympics, or that huge competition that you’ve been preparing for all this time is finally over, you are suddenly left with a huge VOID. Obviously, if you won and were successful that void may be a whole lot easier to deal with than if you lost.
Once “your Olympics” is over, don’t be surprised if you feel lost and disoriented. After all this time, energy and sacrifice it is very common to have an empty feeling like, “is that all there is?” or “Now, what?” Think about this: After the quest is over, win or lose, there is a NORMAL feeling of LOSS. It’s like having to say “goodbye” to a very dear, close friend. It can be depressing, leave you feeling exceptionally blue and like you don’t know what to do with yourself. Understand that this is very normal. This is what happens whenever you invest yourself in such a long term quest;
There is always a let down at the end. It’s sad to see the quest end. It has been such an integral part of who you were on a daily basis for so long. So it’s OK to grieve a little. It’s fine to feel sad. It doesn’t mean you’re weird or anything like that. At some point what you want to do is to take that experience and all your hard work and find yourself another quest, another mountain to climb. Find something else that you can channel your excitment and energy into. WHY? Because your sports experience is far more about the quest than the goal. The goal is fleeting, but the quest is what it’s all about. It’s the dream, deciding to pursue it and the process of doing just that, that positively changes you as a person and an athlete. The end product of reaching the goal doesn’t make you a better person: PURSUING YOUR GOAL DOES!