Excerpt from the autobiography Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks, ©2004:

I hung up my shoes for good, feeling sadness and– strangely– relief. With the exception of breaking a school record that still stands after nineteen years, I’d failed to reach the other goals I’d set for myself. But despite the fact that running had been the defining force in my life for the previous seven years, I knew I’d survive without it.

I’d given it my best shot, but it wasn’t to be. And if I had to do it all over– and fail to reach my dream again– I would. When you chase a dream, you learn about yourself. You learn your capabilities and limitations, and the value of hard work and persistence.

When I told my dad about my decision– sharing my disappointment as well as my relief in knowing that I’d finally made a decision– he put his arms around my shoulder.

“Everyone has dreams,” he said. “And even if yours didn’t work out the way you wanted, it doesn’t make me any less proud of you. Too many people never really try.”

It’s kind of nice to hear about dreams that didn’t come true.

Usually when your hear “Follow your dreams!” it’s from the lips of some pubescent pop star who hit a home run her first time up to bat.

I tend not to trust their advice.


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