The Gold

Michael Phelps has had an outstanding performance in the 2008 Summer Olympics. He has won 8 Olympic Gold medals and broken 7 Olympic records. Michael is being called the greatest Olympian that has ever lived. After all of the accolades have died down and the Olympics is long over I can’t help but wonder – what’s next? Sure he is only 23 and can continue to compete in the Olympics but it seems to me that it will be virtually impossible for him to have another showing like the one this year. Obviously he has accomplished and probably surpassed his personal goals. I know he is going to bask in all of the glory for a good long while. But then I wonder. What next?

Will he set a goal to win 10 medals? Is that even possible? I am sure he will have the opportunity to get on the lecture circuit and become a motivational speaker. But maybe that is not his cup of tea. So what next?

I believe that there comes a time in everyone’s life when they ask this question. And no, we all don’t win international glory and fame but we all come to a crossroads at some point in our lives. Perhaps you are the stay-at-home mom whose children are ready to leave the nest. Or you could be that female executive, successful and at the top of your game but all alone with no love life to speak of. You could be that father who works 80+ hours per week but spends little or no time with the family you work so hard to support. Maybe you are a college student beginning your senior year and suddenly come to the realization that the major you have worked on for the past 3 years is not interesting anymore.

The crossroads. What do you do at the crossroads? Some people become immobilized. I know a 1996 winner of Olympic gold that became depressed and unable to function without meds after his win. He met a goal he worked for all of his life and when presented with his “what next?” moment he stopped in his tracks. He may well have been depressed prior to his win but maybe not.

In my opinion we should all be prepared for the “what next?” moments in our lives. However, this can be difficult because sometimes we don’t even see them coming. We are forced to confront them head on without preparation. I am writing this today because I am having my own personal “What next?” moment. Although I am no Olympian I have to say that I am truly floored by the response to my blog post yesterday. I must admit that “I” thought it was a good post but had no idea that so many others would agree. I look at all of the comments and wonder how on earth will I respond to everyone. But respond I will because that is what I do. The “what next?” moment comes for me because I wonder is this it – is this “my” shining moment and will there be others to come? How will I write another post that lives up to the one from yesterday? Do I pressure myself to do it? Or do I sit immobilized basking in the glory of my one moment and then fade back into the recesses of my small corner of the blogosphere.

My “what next?” moment is filled with possibilities. And my decision is to return to what I always do. I write from my heart about things that I enjoy and let the rest follow. I will not write with hopes of gaining accolades – although I must admit having Da Goddess refer to my post as “The Post Every Blogger Should Read” is amazing – I will continue to write for me. I will still talk about my little one, post diaper cakes and travel the blogosphere. And hope that sharing my words may inspire, resonate with or even just make someone smile. I guess I have always been prepared for my “what next?” moment after all because in reality every day I write is a “what next?” moment for me.


wiehanne said…
I hate when I have to face the 'what's next' question. >.<
I think most people have their "MOMENT" where they break from the norm and do/say something life changing or meaningful...for some it's just one moment for others it's a series of moments.

I think that we all need to live our lives to the fullest always reaching for a better world and never focus on that one big thing...because like you said, what's next? That's only a problem, when your focus is small!
Another great post...glad I'v added you to my moring list of good reads!!
hot garlic said…
You're too cute! Let me know if you do end up making it and how it turns out.

Great post! I find myself thinking about that crossroads in my life, I feel like it is coming, and fast. I got married, had my kids, have stayed at home until this point. But it will be a few short years before they are both in school and I can't have anymore. I know I probably seem young to be thinking about it {I am}, but I really would love to hit the crossroads and figure out what's next.

That is crazy about your friend, the '96 Olympian. But you can see how it could easily happen. It can happen to any of us, that is why hoping and dreaming and working towards new dreams and goals and always evolving and changing is so important. It is also important to know who you are, so that you don't identify with what you do, you identify with who you really are.
Carrie said…
You are raising some good thought provoking questions. Don't be surprised by the reponses you write a great blog.
MomMega said…
I don't think you have ANYTHING to worry about. Like you said, you write from your heart. And all of your posts are intriguing and well-written. I believe that you have a loooooong time before you are anywhere close to the "what's next" moment!
Weith Kick said…
This is a good "thinking" post that makes us all look inward. I was wondering the same thing about all those great Olympians. What's next? For many the rest of life may seem a bit like a let down. The Olympics for many of them will be the high point of their life.

But, it doesn't have to be that way. Hopefully, once it's over athletes like Michael Phelps can turn their Olympic energy into something else, something fruitful and productive.

A crossroads should be looked at as an opportunity. For me, a crossroads is a time to change, and I am starting more to embrace change in my life.

Good ideas you have prompted.
Tammy Warren said…
Writing from your heart means you will always be felt from everyone that reads you. Blogging is so difficult sometimes. There is so much to share...but, for me..I have to have purpose. Especially in this busy life that we live.

I love your blog just the way it is. I look forward to following you along the way.
Joanie said…
We ask ourselves "what next?" on a daily basis, even if we aren't aware we're doing so. Each time we venture out of our regular niche, it's a "what next?" moment.

There's still more to the question, though. For me, I've spent the last three years asking myself what I'm going to do now that bedside nursing is no longer an option. That was my dream for so long. Being unable to go back to what I loved doesn't leave me feeling as empty as it did, but it's still a disappointment. While I'd like to believe I'll be pursuing photography full time, the reality is, I'll have to find something else to pay the big bills. So, what next? What am I going to do with what I know, what I'm capable of doing, and what my new physical limitations will be after my surgery? Whatever shall I do? And the answer lies in my imagination. I will be limited only by myself. And maybe one or two laws. ;) The thing is, if I can dream it, I can achieve it, if I'm willing to work hard enough to make it happen. Motivation is another story altogether.

You're really good at this, Renee. I might have to stop reading if you're going to keep being all uplifting and provoke such thoughts! lol

Da Goddess
Anonymous said…
Great post and I wondered the same thing....

I love the conclusion you came to at your what next moment. Following your heart and being true to yourself is THE only way!

Thanks for the great comments on my blog - I love that you visit!!
christy said…
I for one think those moments are exciting...all the possibilities and everything. Although, I'll admit that sometimes I live a little too much in the possibilities and lose sight of the 'right now' moment...but that's a topic for another day I guess.

You deserve the accolades--you are an intelligent woman with a lot to offer the blogosphere.
penlighted said…
what's next for him is to face a hectic schedule for interviews, photo shoots for magazines and then film a commercial..

then what's next? lol

I am facing that kind of situation right now...I was studying BSN in the Philippines and was supposed to be in my 4th yr already. But then my parents wanted me to move back here in NY to process my papers..Our category is not yet open, so we are still waiting.

I face a lot of "what's next" everyday. I really don't know what to do next. I am really new.

And about the blogging thingy?
A friend told me that I can earn here..but I still didn't get a penny. I kept of wondering what's next in the blogging world.
Ms. Bar B: said…
I think that life is just a system of "what next" moments. Think about it. We are always in constant reach for the "next" stage in our lives. We are constantly growing as people and to stay stuck in the same moment for a lifetime might not be all that healthy, so I would just say to take the "what next" moments as stages of advancement, accept them and use them as learning tools to accomplish all of your life goals.
jill notkin said…
Those "what next?" moments are what keep me going, energized. They are the catalysts for the next great accomplishment.

Good post!
Kristen Andrews said…
I think you always need to speak from the heart and write what you enjoy.
angie said…
What a great post to remind me to think about my "what next's" moments.
followthatdog said…
what's next? you just keep on being awesome. Keep looking for the next challenge.
Kayla said…
I love your blog and im lovin the cakes! I have attempted to do some cakes for my girls, but you'r put mine to shame!
I will be back to visit again!
Kayla said…
I am loving your blog...can't wait to come visit again!
San Diego Momma said…
I pretty much sit immobilized during my "what if" moments. Then, get up and keep on keeping on. I'm really boring that way!
Rhea said…
Michael Phelps is amazing. He's reached the heighth of his career at such a young age. I agree, what's next?! Wild. I wonder what he wants to do. Maybe he wants to be a lawyer, for all we know. lol

Thanks for visiting me Monday for my SITS days!
Dawn said…
I don't think you have anything to worry about regarding writing great posts based on what i've read so far! I think yesterday was one of many shining moments for you. You seem to truly open up and share your thoughts with others and I think that makes you shine as bright as anything! And the "what next" moment is something to think about. I agree that some people meet their goal and then fall apart because they can never be the best again or top what they did. I'm glad I live a "simple life" and can enjoy each of my accomplishments and still look forward to new goals.
I agree with all of the above ;) Your blog makes me smile... and it makes my want to eat cake. Hm.
Maternal Mirth said…
You are an AMAZING writer and deep thinker. I like that.

The gerbil that works the wheel that operates my brain, however, does not like it as much. He hasn't lead a very active life up 'til now.
Sara said…
I wish my "what's next?" included $38 million in endorsement deals, but I think that is reserved for Michael!
Petra said…
Follow your heart. Take a moment to really listen to what it is saying--AND DO THAT. That is "what's next."
Petula said…
I think one of my biggest "what next" moments came with the end of my marriage and the realization that I was going to be a single parent again. What next moments can make or break us, but I -- like you -- still love to write about whatever comes to my mind, strikes my fancy and makes me (and hopefully my readers :]) happy. ... well, at least until the next moment! ;)

You rock!
christie said…
What is next? Tomorrow is another day right? Life is full of "next"...guess we'll find out soon. Hopefully there won't be too many surprises (unless they're good ones).
Love this post.
Jennifer said…
They're not all going to awesome, and that's fine. The important thing is that you do NOT have it in you to write a BAD one! Don't worry, we'll all keep comin' back!
Another great post! I like the way you mesh the current events to what you are thinking and feeling inside!

Keep it up, Renee!

Popular Posts