Everyone does this sport for different reasons. Different motivations, different goals, different things that make them continue or make them want to stop. It’s a personal thing and at the end of the day you’re the only one who knows if continuing on in this sport is worth it to you. I faced that decision head on two years ago. After 2008 I had to take a good look in the mirror and get an understanding of why I was doing this, under what circumstances I could continue, and how I would know if it was time for me to stop. I prayed really hard about it and called myself retired for four months until I found my way back under my terms. If you’ve been reading the blog for that long, you went on that journey with me.
For me, it came down to two things. First, I decided that if this was going to be my career choice, then I actually had to make a living from it. I have enough hobbies, I’ve seen almost the entire world and then some, and I am too independent to try and live any other way. The second was I had to be having fun. In other words, I had to like my life and what I was doing with it a majority of the time. Overall, it’s easy for me to say I like being an athlete. I love it, actually. But two years ago I realized that somewhere along the way, I started being stressed, anxious, and discontent with so much that it had took away so much of the fun. Financial hardships, injuries, and a feeling of not living up to your potential can do that to a person. So I have competed ever since making sure those two things are met before I commit to move forward each year.
But you know where I’m at now? I’m at the edge. I’m standing right at the line, teetering precariously without actually stepping over. Basically, I’m having a hard time meeting my two requirements. For the last two months I’ve seen my season take a nasty nose dive and for a myriad of reasons I was never able to get it back on track. It’s been a little hard on me emotionally but I’ve done my best to keep it together because when you have another meet and another opportunity just around the corner, there is always a chance to improve and make things better. But today, after my last meet of the season that also ended up being my absolute worst meet as well, I cried. . Not like huge alligator tears running down my face, but definitely an overflow of all the emotion I was trying to keep in.
I know it probably sounds entirely too sappy and completely over the top to some of you, but it’s me. Sometimes I almost feel like maybe it’s time to do something else with my life, because the frustration of knowing I have such a hard time putting it all together like I should, irks me to no end. I like the definitive. I’m either good enough to be the competitor I should be and want to be, or I’m not. And if the answer is a no and it makes better sense to move on, then what am I waiting for? I know it sounds extreme, but feeling like I’ve found my way and then losing it over and over gets old.
I apologize if this blog is not so uplifting and inspiring as you might have hoped for. If you are looking for the taking lemons, making lemonade, and filling the glass half full blog, you’re going to have to check back next week. Right now I’m trying to hold on to something my friend and fellow athlete told me earlier tonight. Sometimes God’s delays are not denials. I believe that. In my heart I know I couldn’t jump a personal best this season and not know there is more to be done in the future. It’s just hard to grasp right now.