Find Your Passion

Sue Gumbs – Atlanta, GA

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very athletically inclined. I tried everything as a kid – dance, gymnastics, baton twirling, ice skating, cheerleading, softball, track and field – you name it, I did it. I soon came to find that I was not really great at any of the sports I tried, so that knocked my confidence a bit and I gave up. Ultimately, I was frustrated that I was not a better performer.

I realized I was more of the creative type and decided to explore my artistic side. I took guitar lessons all the way through junior high and went on to join the dance squad in high school. I was getting good grades in my studies and classes, so I poured my energy into getting straight A’s and excelling that way as well.

But, my real passion was riding horses. I’ve been obsessed with horses since I was a young child. I even remember crying when I was 9 or 10 years old because I so desperately wanted to have my own horse. My childhood dream was to be a jockey, and I really thought it could be a reality (for reference I’m 5’2”). One summer I went to horse camp and came in second place in a show. I was so proud of myself. The girl who came in first had her own horse and rode all the time, so I was able to justify being second best. After all these years, I still have my ribbon and so vividly remember my time at horse camp. I worked hard to listen to instructions and perfect the drills, and it paid off.

Unfortunately, I was not able to achieve my jockey dreams and fulfill my passion full-time because horse riding is an expensive sport (yes, it’s a sport!) and something my parents could not afford. I now live vicariously through my niece, who is also a horse lover like me, and takes jumping lessons three times a week. She’s a great rider and wants to begin horse shows soon; she even wants to attend an equestrian college.

It can take a bit of trial and error to find your passion, but when you focus on what you’re really interested in and pursue it, you will achieve great things. People are blessed with all different abilities – academic, athletic, artistic – and sometimes all it takes is time to discover them. After all, these differences are what makes the world go round, right?

P.S. - I am now in my fifties and considering taking up horseback riding lessons. It’s never too late to live out your dreams!

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