I am 22 years old. I have just graduated college in a world where a barista job requires a bachelor’s degree and any entry-level corporate job requires 3-5 years of experience. I am trying to play professional soccer in an over saturated market of players who are bigger, faster and stronger than me and have experience in World Cups, Olympics or with other professional teams. I am a female athlete.
What does all of that mean??
Well, it means that in order to chase my lifelong dream of being a professional soccer player (not only a good player but being the best in the world), winning the Olympics or a world cup or a champions league, and being able to make a living playing the game I love, I have to make sacrifices…. A lot of them.
In the last 2 months I have spent over $4,500 on plane tickets, hostels, and food, I haven’t unpacked my bags, I have been in 11 of the 12 time zones between Russia and the West Coast of the United States. I have cried tears of joy coming home to my family and then a week later cried tears as I said goodbye again. I have seen sunrises and sunsets. I have taken risks, made stupid decisions, been rejected, been welcomed, and most importantly learned valuable lessons every step along the way.
Throughout these journeys the common denominator has been me, myself and I. But, don’t misunderstand; I have an incredible support system behind me. I have the BEST family in the world, a loving relationship, the best friends in the world, a place I can always go for good training and be welcomed… but the majority of the time I have found myself bouncing between spots with only my stuffed full Marmot backpack, my guitar and my computer. Which basically just means that I have too much time to think!
Here is what I have found out about myself…. I am ridiculous! I fully acknowledge the fact that I have a very difficult time making decisions. I change my mind about a million times within the matter of a few hours (and for minor decisions, like what to eat, it could mean a million mind changes in a matter of minutes). What I have learned is that this “mind-changing problem” is because I am very opinionated, but sometimes I have very strong opinions on both sides of a debate (even my own personal debates). I keep those thoughts and opinions inside, stewing until they fester so much inside of me that they explode in a mixture of emotions on to my parents or Becca or some sorry stranger who happens to catch me at the wrong moment (especially if its after I have had a sip of caffeine or other drink… I cant help but run my mouth for less than 30 minutes). But what I have learned more than anything is that I have an extremely hard time waiting…and that is not good for someone whose life is lived waiting for the next opportunity.
I like to feel progressive. I constantly want to better myself, athletically, academically, financially, or otherwise. If I am not doing something “more”, I feel antsy. I cant help it! My mind starts whipping up these crazy ideas of what to do, where I can go, what I want to do, and how I can make it happen. Lucky for me, my parents are incredibly down to earth, humble, understanding and honest people. They listen to my ranting and raving and then they tell me when I am right or when I have completely missed the mark and what I should do to get my head back in the right place. I love them for that. I love them for so many reasons, but at this moment in my life there is one lesson in particular that I have come to learn from them.
This up and down and in between time in my life has taught me so much about myself. Literally everyday I am learning something new and I am thoroughly enjoying that, even when I realize that I have a bit of crazy in me. The lesson they taught me which has allowed me to embark on this crazy journey and to make mistakes and to learn from them has been my parent’s encouragement to succeed, even in the face of sure failure. To use the abilities that God (and my parents) blessed me with until they are run dry. To prepare as hard as I can because when my opportunity comes I will be ready for it… and if I fail it is ok. I can be starved, abused, run into the ground, and rejected but if I have done my best, if I have learned something, if I have sought happiness and found it then it was not a failure. In fact I have furthered myself as a human being and will be that much better for it in the future. To fail is to give up and walk away from something I was not ready to walk away from. To fail is the greatest lesson a human being can learn for it makes success that much richer. And I must say thank you to my parents for letting me make mistakes and still have my back if I fail and be the first to celebrate with me if I succeed.
I came home from Germany on Sunday. I was planning on staying in Colorado for a few weeks, visiting my brother with my parents in Louisville, training, riding my bike, and just enjoying my family… it is now Friday and I am on a flight to Portland again. I have gone back and forth, been torn between my two favorite places in the world. I have talked and talked and talked and thought about all of my options and probably made a rash decision AGAIN…but I am excited to get up to Portland to watch my old teammates through some of their season, coach, train, stay fit and be with Becca. I will be going to visit my brother with my parents next week out in Louisville and I cant wait for us all to be together again! In the mean time I wont be unpacking my bags just yet because I am still waiting (always waiting) to rack up some more flight miles on an international flight to where ever the next playing opportunity is. It will be just as much a surprise to me as it will be to you all! Thanks for reading… I will do my best to keep you posted!
PS Did you know that the average airplane is drier than the Sahara dessert, flies at a higher altitude than the highest peak in Colorado and systematically stuffs more than the recommended amount of people into a certain amount of space forging some horribly unique and unnatural smells, and that airlines create all of this uncomfortable-ness an average of 500 times a day with EACH airline out of EACH airport. And how do they seem to make all of this happen? By charging a ridiculously high price for their thorough inefficiency, rudeness and mayhem. And somehow it works beautifully well… traveling sucks and I love it!