It’s been two weeks since the Olympic Trials and I’m happy to say that I have now resumed showering and brushing my hair when I go out in public. I kid… a little. Something I’ve learned about myself is that the more something can affect me, the deeper I bury it and the less affected I seem by it on the outside. So while it has been tough accepting the idea of not being an Olympian and trying to resume life with that knowledge, I haven’t outwardly turned in to debbie downer, where none of my friends can stand to be around me and I weep over a bowl of Ben and Jerry’s every night. You might think that is a tad dramatic, but don’t judge unless you’ve been in my shoes spikes.
The hard part in a career like mine, is that this dream and goal that I was so passionate about was also my job. It’s how I pay my bills and make a living, and it’s the only thing I’ve woken up every morning for the last 10 years to do. So a ton of people have been asking me why I’m sitting at home doing virtually nothing and basically taking an extended leave of absence with no pay. And the best answer I can give them, is that it’s complicated. But then I decided I would blog the complicated answer a little more in depth because part of why I blog is to give people an understanding of what I do and how it works, and this is part of it most outsiders probably wouldn’t understand. Please keep in mind that this is only my experience though, and therefore the only one I can comfortably speak to.
For starters, I didn’t plan to not make the team so admittedly I’ve been feeling a little lost. I had no contingency plan and I’m totally okay with that. If things had gone differently, I would have went to Europe and did a meet or two before heading to the village. But without the need to head to the village, not only was it hard to get into a meet or two, it just didn’t make a whole lot of sense. The Trials were so close to the start of the games that there was only a small window of time (that basically has ended) to compete overseas before meets stop in the lead up to the Games. In that small window of time there are a handful of meets, and of that handful of meets there are only a few that have my event. Of those that have my event, there was one “Diamond League”, and a couple small competitions. The Diamond League was not an option, and the small competitions were a possibility but were not probably going to be very cost effective at the end of the day. So, there is your logistical answer.
Beyond logistics though, it took me a little while to separate the emotional state I was in from my physical capabilities to go out and compete at a high level. When you compete, you kind of need both sides to be working harmoniously to be any good at all. Because I was so emotionally worn out I spent a few days in a fog and I have a feeling that crazy roller coaster of emotions would have affected whatever I was capable of physically anyway. I was basically only good for TV surfing and trips to In n Out Burger.
After these couple of weeks though, I am now starting to realize how tough it’s going to be to be here in the states and not across the pond for basically the first time in my professional career. I have spent the last 10 summers of my life in Europe and it feels really odd to not be over there. I have always loved my job and loved the opportunity to compete all over the world, even when I had to hustle and grind to make a living. It hasn’t always been easy or glamorous, but it has always been worth it because I was doing what I loved, and even when I struggled I was learning and growing and figuring out how to be better. I am disappointed that I don’t have that opportunity right now, because even with the Olympics not in my grasp anymore, competing is what I love to do and so much a part of who I am. All I can do now though is take life one day at a time and figure out how to be content and fulfilled with the opportunities I do have in front of me.