I have had many phases in my life. I have never had a hard time moving on from one phase to the next. Leaving high school to go to college was the best day of my life. Leaving college for the real world was really sad and a bit scary—but I was ready. Moving out of my parents’ house to my first apartment was exciting. Buying my first home and getting married was all I had ever dreamed of and more. I have never had a hard time accepting moving on and I look back at most of the stages of my life, fondly. However, there was one part of my life that always made me feel a knot in my stomach.
I played sports for 14 years. It consumed my life. It was all I cared about. When I stepped on the court or the field… I turned into a different person. I sacrificed my health and my sanity in order to stay on the court for one more second—for one more game. My athletic career ended bitterly as I was having unexplained health issues that I couldn’t get under control. It took a toll on me physically for sure—but what it did to me mentally was something I can’t explain. After an unbearable basketball season my senior year of high school, I quit track that upcoming spring. I remember crying walking down the hall after leaving my coach’s office. I remember thinking that my life was over. How silly.
I swore sports off for the past 8 years. It was no longer a part of me. I always tell people that, in the end, my body physically rejected me being an athlete so I had no choice but to stop caring about it. I joke that the last day I walked out of the gym at North Hills High School was the last day I ever shot a basketball. I continued to work out—but stopped taking it seriously. I stopped running myself into the ground. I realized it wasn’t healthy for me and I moved on and never looked back. In my mind—sports brought nothing to the table for me anymore. It was a part of my past and that was all it would ever be. It was a part of my life I would try to push away from me—until recently.
I have started to train for a half marathon that I will be running at the end of October. My dad and I are running together and raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I haven’t challenged myself like this in almost a decade. I was really worried and was really dreading the training—until I got out there and started to run the miles. I forgot how therapeutic training is. I forgot what it was like to push myself further than I thought was possible. I forgot how much I thrived on accomplishing something I didn’t think I could do. I forgot why I loved it so much.
I am not entirely sure what my message is with this post. It is just a revelation I had when I was running this past weekend. Maybe I finally feel at peace with a phase of my life that ended unfortunately. Maybe I feel like this is another realization that I have my health—and how lucky I am to have it. Maybe it brought back the good memories I had about something that used to define me. Who knows.
I know being an athlete taught me how to compete, work hard, to be a team player. It taught me leadership and perseverance. It showed me how strong of a person I am. All of these things have helped form me into the adult I am today. The things that led me to be captain of my basketball and soccer teams may also be the very things that helped me land my new job. I guess you never know how one phase of your life will connect you to the next.
I feel grateful for my experiences a different way today and I feel happy to share them with you. I am looking forward to seeing what other revelations I have while on my long runs on Saturdays. I will keep you posted.