As 2014 is coming to a close, I thought I’d take a brief walk down memory lane of the past 12 months, highlighting major events, the best of times, the worst of times, simply anything noteworthy.
No More Rhythmic Gymnastics
This was the first year that I’ve been totally gymnastics free. I officially quit gymnastics in April of 2013 due to knee and back injuries. The reality of losing gymnastics really hit home for me in January, the start of competition season. Instead of training long hours at the gym and feeling the pressure and excitement of competition season looming ahead, I was at home, rehabbing and watching old competition videos. I missed gymnastics like crazy. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried A LOT when I initially quit gymnastics- the sport was my life, a HUGE part of my identity, my passion. I started gymnastics when I was five years old and essentially devoted my life to the sport. Without gymnastics I felt completely empty. I couldn’t bring myself to watch any competitions during the 2014 season because I knew that doing so would hurt me more. It was only recently when I started going to therapy that I was able to really move on from gymnastics and build a new identity from scratch. So, as much as I hate to admit, the majority of my 2014 was spent mourning and grieving the loss of gymnastics.
Moved on From Gymnastics
In July, I finally decided to seek therapy because I was unable to move on from gymnastics on my own. Therapy helped so much, because I was given the support I needed during a very low point in my life. I’m not saying that my family and friends were not there for me while I was grieving, but it’s simply difficult for many people to understand the emotional and psychological impact a career-ending injury can have on an athlete. My therapist, while justifying my grief over losing gymnastics, also helped me understand that gymnastics did not define who I was as a person. A person’s identity is not shaped by one single “thing”. Through this realization, I was better able to accept that a life without gymnastics does not mean the end of life itself, though at times it felt that way. My therapist encouraged me to make more friends at school, since in the past, most of my friends were from gymnastics. As I’ve mentioned in previous blog entries, I recently starting doing diving, which has really helped me move on from gymnastics. The academic rigor of junior year is therapeutic, in a way, as I can channel any grief I feel into my schoolwork. I will also be taking my first ballroom dance lesson this Friday, which is super exciting! All of these new activities I’m trying and focusing my energy into fill the void that losing gymnastics has left in me. Nothing can really replace rhythmic gymnastics, but pursuing new hobbies is definitely the first step in helping me move on from this past life.
Despite the major downside of no longer being able pursue my passion, I’ve had several celebratory moments this year, especially in academics. On June 7, I took my first SAT, and got a 2270/2400!! I’m super proud of my score because it took TONS of hard work to attain it. My mom signed me and my brothers up for SAT class in 8th grade (thanks mom), and for nearly three years we went to those tedious four hour classes almost every Sunday. It was neither easy nor fun, but my through this I was able to reap the rewards of my hard work.
Music Tour- Cruise to Mexico
In late April, our school band went on tour to Mexico, which was super exciting!! We boarded a Carnival cruise ship (forgot the specific name of the ship) and performed on the ship. I had been on several cruises prior to this one, but what made this experience so unique was the fact that I wasn’t with my family. Admittedly, I do most things with my family, and I rarely go away from home for days on end without them. It was a great experience to “leave the nest” for a week and just have fun with friends and classmates.
Volunteered at the Hospital
Over the summer my brothers and I volunteered at the hospital every Sunday for four hours. Sadly, I didn’t get to work in the hospital setting- I worked in the administration building and helped out with paperwork. I know. Boring. But the experience wasn’t for nothing. Scanning, filing, and printing papers to no end taught me that never in my life would I get an monotonous office job. It was also interesting to be in the workforce setting- everyone is very professional with one another and leave their personal lives at home.