I tend to be a very stubborn, headstrong person. I’m fearless and I love hard. Giving up is never a viable option for me, and change can really scare me. I tend to do the same thing over and over and over, expecting different results, instead of shifting my life and perspective a bit. I almost always learn the hard way because I ignore all the caution signs that I face. Then one day, I woke up and I felt a little lost and unbalanced, but it didn’t happen over night. It all happened over a period where I got so caught up with the future and what ifs that I lost the best part of my life- the simplicity of the right now.
I would say that I lost myself, and I made a lot of mistakes. For the most part during hard times, I am good about “faking it until I make it” and putting on a smile when I want to cry. That is the best way to describe my 10 weeks of no walking. I was pretending I was okay, which some days did help, but some days I couldn’t pretend anymore. Looking back, I wasn’t me during that time. I always love to say that I am a strong, independent woman, but I was not. I was needy and I lost my shine a little bit.
It really only got worse because I would try to do these things I couldn’t do, and I would get mad at myself and my body for not working the way it should. Every day became a battle of who I was going to choose to be that day. Was I going to be my outgoing, fun, unique self? Or was I going to be sad for myself? Sad usually won. It didn’t take a lot for me to see what I was doing to myself or those around me. If I could go back and change my words and actions during that time, I would. I let myself get the best of me and I forgot who I used to be.
The mistakes I made during that time are lessons learned, and in the past few weeks since I started walking again, I realized what I had done to myself, and I realized what I needed to do. I needed to apologize to those who carried my burdens more than they needed to, and I needed to think about what had happened, and acknowledge the mistakes I made. I needed to thank those who did carry my burdens even when it wore them down, and I needed to let them focus on them again.
The past few weeks have been a crucial life turn-around for me, and realizing this is really the first step. Knowing you need to change and being deliberate with your actions. Say what you mean, mean what you say. Follow through on your actions and that is my main goal. In the past few weeks I realized I was making so many mistakes that I wasn’t me anymore and now it is time to bring myself back. To be who I was a few months ago.
Life can really get us down and it is beyond unfair, but it doesn’t mean we should stoop down to the level where we become someone we never wanted to be. I wish I hadn’t, but I did, and this is how I lost myself.
I lost balance.
I have a number of amazing things going on in my life now, things I am thankful for every single day. I have family, friends, important relationships, athletics, school, life, myself, etc. I love the people in my life a lot, and the opportunities I have been given are incredible. When something doesn’t feel successful in my life, or if I feel overly successful in that area, I tend to forget about the rest. Swimming was my outlet and all of a sudden I had lost it. So I found something else to put everything into, hoping I could find that successful feeling again. Wrong. Life should feel more balanced and even across the board. Spending time with your friends, family, significant other, it should be equal. Working just as hard in school as you do in your sport, or hobby. I put too much energy into the wrong outlets of my life.
My #1 priority wasn’t right.
Priorities are important in life because it is how we decide how, when, with whom we spend our time and energy with. Our priorities should change as we go through phases of life. My priorities weren’t right at all. I was hurt and I put myself at the bottom of the list, and instead of fixing myself, I tried fixing everyone else around me. You can’t fix people though and my energy was wasted on something that was unrealistic. Your top 5 priorities should really decide how you spend your time and what is important to you, and at some point they will change when the next season of life comes through. As a college student, we should prioritize our relationships and who we are with, because we won’t be 21 forever, spending days by the pool with those we love most.
I didn’t take care of myself.
I forgot what else in life made me happy. I have a handful of incredible people in my life who make me really happy, and inspire me to be who I am today, but they can’t be all of my happiness. Happiness shouldn’t depend on someone else, because it is a fleeting feeling. You won’t always “feel happy” with someone, but you’ll always love them and they will bring you that happy feeling. People can’t be the only source of happiness though. Happiness is brought by memories, moments, adventures, self-success, alone time, hobbies, you name it. I re-found what makes me happy. I love writing, I love going to the movies with friends, or reading a good book. Working out and spending time with my team as a whole makes me happy. One singular human can not satisfy all of our happiness. So you need to find what makes you happy and keep doing those things, even when you want to feel bad for yourself.
I didn’t give myself space.
Space is a tough word for me sometimes because I didn’t think I needed time alone. I’m a very outgoing, extroverted person, so I love spending time with people. It never made sense to me when people wanted to be alone until I took time to actually think about it. We need our own time to grow, think, and just exist after a long day. I didn’t give space to my closest friends or to myself. Because of this, I didn’t grow as much as I should have individually and others carried my odd distaste for being alone. Now I do more to invest into myself and who I want to be. Doing things I like to do, whether with my friends or by myself, and I am still learning to enjoy my alone time, and understanding why others need it too.
I lost the “right now”.
Along with being stubborn and headstrong, I am an also very type A personality kind of person. If you don’t know what it means here is a little idea from Simply Psychology: Type A personalities experience a constant sense of urgency: Type A people seem to be in a constant struggle against the clock. Type A individuals tend to be very competitive and self-critical. They strive toward goals without feeling a sense of joy in their efforts or accomplishments. Interrelated with this is the presence of a significant life imbalance. Yep that’s me. I love love planning. I like lists and crossing things off that list. However, I got ahead of myself per-usual. I lost the fun and spontaneity that I used to have. So instead of being so focused on the future, I’m ready to focus more on the now, and being with those that mean the most to me. Enjoying company and what has been given to us today.
I created limits.
Cue “the limit does not exist” from Mean Girls. But I did limit myself, and it was wrong of me to do. I didn’t expand myself the way I wanted to and I wanted logical answers about life and why I had to go through the ups and downs of an injury. I just wanted logic and I defined what I could and couldn’t do, but if we live our lives safely, empty of second chances, full of just giving up, then what kind of life would we have? If I had given up, the best things in my life would have passed me by.
“If you let your mind talk you out of things that aren’t logical, you’re going to have a very boring life. Because grace isn’t logical. Love isn’t logical. Miracles aren’t logical.”
It would be logical for me to not swim or to not push myself in finding myself again, it would be easy for me to give up, but my life would be boring and empty. I live on the idea of second, third, fourth chances, and that the sky is not the limit, so I will give myself a second, third, or hundredth chance, whatever it takes to be the me I was before I let life control me. Balance will come back, priorities of those in my life are set, space will need to be given and taken, making myself better is my only option, the right now creates the best memories, and limits won’t exist for me.
Here is to losing yourself, giving second chances, and then finding yourself again.