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How I Can Compare Myself to 19-Year-Old Olympic Gold Medalist Katie Ledecky

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I’ve always enjoyed watching the Olympics.

As much as I try not to compare myself to others, it just naturally happens. Last night I watched 19-year-old Katie Ledecky from the USA win a gold medal and set a new world record. Oh, and did I mention the record she broke was one she’d previously set?

She doesn’t need other competitors in the pool; this girl is basically just competing against herself. 

A photo posted by USA Swimming (@usaswimming) on

My first thought sitting on the couch while watching this occur was, “in the last two hours I’ve drank both a milkshake and a margarita; we are so not on the same level.” I can easily see the flaw in comparing an Olympic gold medalist in perfect health to me, a girl with a chronic illness on full disability using both a wheelchair and oxygen off and on and taking multiple medications each day.

thumbs up and sweaty

All throughout life I’ve made the mistake of comparing myself to others and it’s always a dangerous game. When I worked full time, I compared my housekeeping and meal prep skills to others who made it look so easy. I still find myself comparing my body to others who have the ability to work out as much as they desire without passing out. Again, that is neither healthy nor fair.

I came to the realization this morning that really, I need to be more like Katie and I need to compete against myself. Each day is a chance to start over and be the best me I can be.  I’ll never be perfect. I’ll never have an immaculate house, delicious and healthy meals prepared, all the laundry caught up, enough time to work out and pray and make an effort in each friendship and in my relationship with my husband all in one day. I have to be realistic and set goals attainable for me in my life today. My husband has always reminded me it is my imperfections that in fact make me perfect. I need to hold onto this as I navigate through this life of chronic illness.

Yesterday I biked over 4 and a half miles on my recumbent bike for 36 minutes straight.  For me, that is a huge victory. The next 45 minutes were spent recovering laying on the floor and chugging Gatorade. In my world, it was a marathon. I need to be proud of me and strive to be the best me I can be.

If you can relate to the comparison game, choose to compare yourself to yourself, and each day strive to be the best you that you can be, within the confines of what your life and health allow.

Follow this journey on POTS: Smiles in the Trials.

Originally published: August 8, 2016
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