Mighty Mouse Elaine Tanner

WORDS OF WISDOM TO PENNY


By -- Elaine Tanner OC —— Bio and Archives July 24, 2017

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I am writing these words today as if I almost know you, yet I have only had the privilege of meeting you once.  Although we may be a few generations apart and many miles away,  we do share a very unique thread which intertwines between us.

You are now standing where I once stood some 50 years ago.  Much has changed since then but the simple words of truth and wisdom never will.

You are still so very young and yet you have achieved so much in such a relatively short time. This is all quite exciting and satisfying however with this meteoric rise in the public eye comes with an inconvenient cost. I have a sense that despite your brilliant successes you do not wish to be arbitrarily placed on a pedestal.  This was not, I’m sure,  part of your plan.  I can totally relate to this unease at being forced into the limelight especially at your age.

Therefore having trodden a similar path as a young teenager myself,  I can afford the luxury of hindsight on the road which may lay ahead of you. Every individual path is unique I realize, but there are also many similarities as well.  I can almost guarantee that you will at times feel pushed and pulled in too many directions all at once.  Perfect strangers will try to impose their expectations and worse still their judgments on your performances. Others will try to ride your coat tails as fair weathered friends and sometimes the media will get carried away trying to predict how your future should unfold.

No one can ever walk in your shoes, Penny.  No one can truly know your inner thoughts and deepest wishes.  No one knows how hard you train, the tears and laughter as well as the doubts and fears before a big event.  Only you know….  Trust in yourself….  Listen to your own inner voice as it will guide you should you feel confused or conflicted.

Your life is your own to choose and experience.  Do not lose sight of who you truly are as a complete person, not just as a swimmer or athlete.  You are not a one dimensional person in your talents nor interests, so don’t be afraid to spread your wings even as you chase your dreams.  Allow yourself time to be with your family and friends and just have fun.  Explore your world, be, be open to learning new things and growing.  Keep hold of the reigns of your life as it is yours alone to lead.

Take risks by all means and very importantly do not be afraid to fail.  Disappointments and falling short of a goal are the basic and necessary components to your ultimate successes.  There is no shame in failure if you can honestly say that you have done your best.  You cannot live your life purposefully and joyfully worrying about what others think or expect of you.  For at the end of each day it is only our own reflection that we see mirrored back.

Always remember when you feel outward pressure and tension that you first chose to swim because you found joy in doing it.  It is vital that you keep that flame of desire burning within you as it serves as fuel for your passion to compete. 

There will come a day when the fires of competition and swimming pools will eventually flicker out.  Remember that you have a long full life ahead and that swimming and sport will just be written as a few chapters on your journey.  The races and medals will all come and go and so will the crowds. But the memories and self satisfaction of chasing your dream will always remain within you. No one can take that away from you…. you have genuinely earned it.

Ultimately you will learn that your worth as a person can never be measured by achievements alone. Your self worth is not measured by the sweep of a clock nor the colour of your medals. We are all here to experience and grow in wisdom regardless of what we may choose to do or accomplish.  The lasting legacy you leave is not what you have received but in what you have given.

I hope these simple words and my message will resonate at this juncture in your inspiring and amazing journey.  Canada is very proud of who you are and how you serve as a bright light to others who aspire to follow in your footsteps.  Blaze a trail, be fearless and most importantly just be you….

With warmest wishes,
Elaine “Mighty Mouse”  Tanner   OC

Continued below...

MY POEM TO PENNY

YOU ARE NOW STANDING
WHERE I ONCE STOOD
A ROAD MUCH LESS TRAVELLED
THAN MOST EVER COULD
                   
WITH WISDOM EARNED ALONG LIFE’S WAY
I WISH TO SHARE MY THOUGHTS TODAY
                     
YOU’RE TRULY A CHAMPION IN BOTH HEART AND SOUL                      
SO FOCUS YOURSELF ON YOUR VERY NEXT GOAL
                     
MEDALS AND TROPHIES ARE SO EXCITING TO WIN
BUT IT’S THE JOY OF THE CHALLENGE THAT MAKES YOU SWIM

SPORT AND ITS GLORY WILL ALL COME AND GO
TESTING ONE’S METTLE AS YOU WELL KNOW
                       
THERE ARE MANY MORE CHAPTERS IN YOUR LIFE YET TO LIVE
SO MUCH MORE OF YOU THAT YOU YET HAVE TO GIVE

DON’T LET EXPECTATIONS ALTER YOUR COURSE
JUST BELIEVE IN YOURSELF AND YOUR SELF WORTH                      

YOUR VALUE CAN’T BE MEASURED IN WINNINGS EARNED
BUT IN YOUR LIFE’S WISDOM AND LESSONS WELL LEARNED

JUNE 13 2017
ELAINE TANNER



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