Thursday, July 28th, 2011 at 2:28pm I tweeted,
“In 2016 I will be 22, graduated from a school I have not chosen yet, and going to the olympics (:”
I wasn’t just a teenage girl dreaming, I was a teenage girl making a plan for her life.
Let me take you back to 2011.
Game of Thrones premiered on HBO – but no one was obsessed with it yet. The final segment of Harry Potter, the Deathly Hollows, came out. The world watched ‘The Help’, ‘X-Men: First Class’, ‘Bridesmaids’and ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’.
Britain’s Prince William married Kate Middleton and the world watched a royal wedding. Kim Kardashian got married to Kris Humphries (and then divorced 72 days later).
Auburn won the BCS National Championship Game. The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl. UConn won the NCAA Basketball Championship. The Dallas Mavericks won the NBA Championship. Usain Bolt false started in the final of the 100m dash at the IAAF World Championships (Yohan Blake won in his absence, Bolt still won the 200m dash).
U.S. commandos found and killed Osama bin Ladden. Major earthquakes and then a tsunami from the earthquakes hit and devastated Japan. Steve Jobs died of cancer, a few weeks later the iPhone 4S (4 Steve) launched (FaceTime was still not a thing).
Adele turned 21 and gave us “Rolling in the Deep & Someone Like You” Rihanna asked everyone, “What’s My Name,” The Black Eyed Peas’ Just Couldn’t Get Enough. Kelly Rowland gave us some “Motivation.” Kanye West turned on “All of the Lights.” Beyonce released her 4th studio album, “4” and Lil’ Wayne released the Carter IV. We were introduced to “The Throne” and then told to watch it.
Apple’s iOS 5 allowed us to send group messages. Instagram exploded with millions of new users.
So by December 31st, 2011, no one, (including myself) could remember a tweet about a 17-year-old girl’s 5-year plan.
I didn’t remember the tweet, but I never forgot the plan.
The following year I signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, on a track and field scholarship. The next year I transferred to the University of Texas at Austin. I chose the school.
Nearly 5 years and 3 iPhones after my original tweet, as time (and math) would have it, in May of 2016, I turned 22.
On July 3rd 2016, I finished 4th at the U.S. Olympic Trials and crossed a lifetime goal off my list. I was going to the Olympics. I made the team.
But I still did not remember my tweet from 2011.
On July 28th 2016, thanks to boredom (and the app TimeHop) I came across my tweet from 5 years earlier, a couple days later I shared this world:
“I tweeted that 5 years ago. It’s 2016. I graduate from Texas in December. I’m going to the Olympics next week.”
Within an hour I had thousands of RTs, along with phone calls and text messages of people telling me my tweet was going crazy. The tweet was literally everywhere: CNN, CBS Sports, ABC, Sports Center, Bleacher Report, and BuzzFeed. Many people called me a prophet or a fortune teller, they said I could predict the future. People responded to my tweet with their own 5 year plans or what they wanted their lives to look like. The included me in “lets try this” tweets.
When I got to Rio the next week, I was on Good Morning America and SportsCenter and had the opportunity to share my story.
What people didn’t see was the 5 years in between the tweets. I had a dream, I made a plan to make my dream come true, and then I did it. I didn’t wake up one day an Olympian. I woke up every day and told myself, ‘you did not wake up today to be mediocre.’ And worked for it.
They take pictures of mountain climbers at the top of the mountain. They’re smiling, ecstatic, triumphant. They don’t take pictures along the way, cause who wants to remember the rest of it? We push ourselves because we have to, not because we like it. The relentless climb, the pain and anguish of taking it to the next level, no one takes picture of that. We just want to remember the view from the top. That’s what keeps us climbing, and it’s worth the pain.
So I won’t bore you with the details of hard workouts, sacrifices and heartache.
Since then, my tweet has been retweeted over 210,000 times, liked over 385,000 times, and seen by over 27,000,000 twitter users.
On December 3rd, I graduated from the University of Texas and I of course went back to twitter to let everyone know.