I often wonder what dedication really means.  Yes, I can just look up the definition, but I don’t think it does the word justice. I don’t think there is necessarily a way to define such a word. There are about 16 different synonyms listed in the dictionary such as commitment, devotion, faithfulness and loyalty to just name a few. It has so many interpretations and depends on so many different circumstances.  Therefore, how can we even begin to define it? Well I define this complicated word with people and experiences, the experiences I’ve had myself and watching the people that inspire me to go deeper into the meaning of what it really means to be dedicated. This is then my attempt to define an indefinable word.

First of all, and most importantly, dedication is love. This is obvious to me and I assume to all of you. One cannot orient their life around something if they do not love it; I mean really, really love it. If one doesn’t love something then they have no chance to be dedicated to it because of the time and effort it takes.

Dedication is passion. It is to be excited about what one is doing.  One must feel that rush if they are really dedicated to doing something.  If there is no rush then there is no motivation to dedicate oneself to it. It is what keeps one from quitting.

Dedication is time, a whole ton of time in fact.  One doesn’t just become dedicated to something because they say so. They become dedicated to it because of the amount of time they spend on it. One wouldn’t be considered dedicated to something if they spent just an hour a day on it; time and dedication go hand in hand.

In turn, dedication is also practice. It is wanting to better oneself at something. In order to do that, one must constantly practice.  A dedicated person can always improve on their skills. In this case, practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect.

Dedication is responsibility.  One has to be responsible with themselves. One has to be responsible with one’s body and mind, making sure nothing bad goes into it or happens to it to hurt it. One’s body and mind must be up to full potential to accomplish the things one wants to do when one is dedicated.

According to one of the synonyms, dedication is loyalty. No one can be dedicated to something without the support of others. Being loyal to others almost guarntees that the support system is always there.

Like I said at the beginning of this column, I believe dedication is what it is because of what I’ve experienced and what I see others experience.

Those others are friends who wake up at 6 a.m. every day to run 13 miles or players who never miss a practice no matter what. It’s the atheletes that never quit fighting to be the best they can be.

They are also the people in my family who work day in and day out to produce the best life they can for my family.

And finally they are people who I hear about on the news or in passing who show that one must be dedicated in everyday life situations.

By trying to understand what dedication really means, I can better appreciate people that are truly dedicated to something and what amazing people they truly are for inspiring others like me to be dedicated.