Hello! My name is Shannon Taylor. I'm a long-time writer and editor from Minnesota surprised to find myself on an island in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, three younger children (the oldest is attending college in Chicago), and two dogs.

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Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life—learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
+ Robert Fulghum

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Winter Fun

What’s Your Olympics?

Shannon Schladming

Enjoying the view in Schladming, Austria, as a staff writer at the 1993 Special Olympics World Winter Games.

I wasn’t sure about writing this, thinking I might come across as having delusions of grandeur. My Olympics? I’m not anywhere close to being an Olympic athlete.

But then I thought about Albert Brooks and the horses. The actor (he plays Nemo’s dad, Marlin) once said he’s well aware he’s no Tom Cruise. And if Hollywood is a horse race with twelve horses and Tom Cruise is the number one horse, then he’s number twelve. But who cares? He’s in the race.

I love that.

Maybe fitness is more like a mountain than a horse race. Maybe the super-elite athletes, the ones with the genetic predisposition and the willingness to sacrifice pretty much everything, are up on top of the mountain at 18,000 feet. And the view up there is incredible.

Scattered down the mountain are professional athletes and marathon runners and Iron Men and Iron Women. They have amazing views, too.

And then there’s the rest of us. We’re pretty far down the mountain. We’re recreational runners and we do workout videos and lift weights a few times a week. But, hey, we’re on the mountain and the view at 2,000 or 1,000 or even 50 feet is beautiful, too.

Here’s my view from the mountain as I approach my 46th birthday:

I can run a 5K with my daughter
I can tap dance with energy
I can do 30 full push-ups…at once!
I can run up the stairs without losing my breath
I can play a decent game of tennis with my husband
I can enjoy bike rides with my family

I’m really happy with my view. Do I want to climb a little higher? Of course! I’d like to be able to do the crow pose. I’m not sure if that’s even possible for me, but it’s part of my personal Olympics and I’ll give it a try.

So what’s your Olympics? What’s the view from where you are on the mountain? And if you’re not climbing, what are you waiting for?

Bart Connor Nadia Comaneci

How does the joke go? “It’s not good to name drop. Robert De Niro told me that.” But how can I resist sharing a photo of Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci while we’re talking about the Olympics? (They stopped in at Special Olympics International in D.C. one day.) Anyway, any hint of showing off will be offset by that dress I’m wearing. Please tell me you dressed like this in the ’90s, too.

But seriously, please share something from your “view” or a goal you have for your personal Olympics. Inspire us!

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  1. Tim Taylor says:

    Thanks for the ‘decent’ tennis generosity.

    1. Shannon says:

      I was referring to myself, thank you. As we all know, you’re a much better athlete than I am even with your spinal cord injury. (It’s so humiliating to get beaten at arm wrestling by someone who’s officially “paralyzed.”)

      Anyway, a better comment from you would have been that you can enjoy mountain biking and cross-country skiing around the neighborhood. Or something like that….

  2. Marilyn says:

    Ha! Why do family members always arm-wrestle? I’m still hoping to beat my mom someday. 🙂 My view involves simply enjoying being a physically active person. When I was younger, I never would have imagined that I would describe myself as such, but here I am. 🙂

    1. Shannon says:

      That’s true for me, too, Marilyn. I didn’t start running until college. But I wish I’d started sooner…those endorphins do a great job of helping me think clearly and stay calm!

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