Four years ago I was huge (enormous!) and 38 weeks pregnant, lying on the couch, watching the XIX Olympics, flabbergasted at curling. Curling! It's a sport! That looks like shuffleboard, kind of. And you don't have to be 16 to do it!
I'm not imagining my list of Things To Do Before I Die is that vastly different from yours. Maybe my Dream Occupations (syndicated columnist and/or public intellectual) are different from yours, but I'm betting pretty much everyone else has at least some of these things on their list of Things (Possible or Impossible) To Do Before I Die:
1. Become a grandmother
2. Own a convertible
3. Own a lake/ocean house
4. Run my own company that makes billions of dollars and creates good jobs for underemployed mothers in a developing country, including on-site well-run daycare/school for their kids
5. Become governor of a nice, quiet state (maybe Iowa or Wyoming)
6. Win MacArthur Award
7. Travel to all the continents (possibly in a tour group with other MacArthur Award winners)
8. Win an Oscar (for screenwriting, of course--wouldn't want to have to do all the botox necessary for acting)
9. Have regular dinner parties at which I flirt outrageously with Bill Clinton, Fareed Zakaria, Jon Stewart, Chow Yun-Fat, and Queen Latifah
10. Win an Olympic medal (I'd settle for bronze, even)
And there are probably a few others, but that's pretty much the basic fantasy list. So you can see how my head would be turned by curling, a sport that's within reach of a 32-year-old with phobias about hurtling downhill on a waxed board and no sense of balance. I mean, come on. I could have started a few months post-partum, and with a lot of hard work I could have been on the US curling team for the XXI Olympics in 2010.
But it didn't pan out. Probably because I forgot about it as soon as the Olympics were over.
Last night I was watching the men's alpine and men's half-pipe and wondering what it would be like if my sons became super-bad-ass skiiers or snowboarders. Dude. I would totally knit myself a crazy-ass red-white-and-blue ski cap to go watch them. Totally.
And then it hit me, that I've crossed over from imagining myself as an Olympic athlete to imagining my kids as Olympic athletes. And you know what? It didn't really bother me.
I've also been noticing the heights and weights of the female athletes in this Olympics. These amazing women are waaay heavier than I think most Americans are socialized to think we should be. I'm going to see if I can find some hard data, and then post some of it, because I think it'll be a good reality check.