Each year, life surprises me. I still go into shock when I look at where I’ve gone and what I’ve done at the end of each year; it doesn’t seem like it’s real! I usually wait till the end of the year to reflect and let my fingers run amuck on my keyboard. I simply can’t wait till December. I’ve made almost every possible life change in my control possible in the year of 2014 and I’ll get into that in a moment. I’m at a point this year where I am overwhelmed with happiness and opportunity in my life. It’s scary sometimes because I can’t imagine things getting better, but they do! I always have pushed so hard in my life for things I wanted. I was able to make big decisions, but they weren’t always easy. I used to write a lot more personal journals on my website, but I moved away from that to build my career as a freelance writer. I sourced out my stories to magazines to share my adventures with a wider audience, but I also realized that I wasn’t writing as much about what goes on inside my head other than when I’m pushing my limits on race day. My social media posts have become truncated versions of what I used to write about on my blog. I want to change that, so I’m starting now.
The last 2 years of my life have been a huge period of personal and professional growth. I’ve found a type of courage I never thought I had. There have been a few things that have helped push me into another orbit of what I believed was possible. First, I met the man of my dreams in 2012 and that took my current momentum and set it to warp speed. I found a type of happiness and support I had never known and its effects have been profound. I view life in a completely different light and see far more possibility in the world. Matt believes in me sometimes more than I believe in myself. His confidence in my ability makes me better, makes me push harder and rethink what is possible. I had never let anyone into my head and heart where I relied on their brilliant support like I do with Matt. It feels good.
I talk a lot about change. When it’s not in your control, it can be extremely painful and difficult. Even when change IS in your control, it can still be a huge challenge and isn’t effortless. What I’ve learned about myself is that I thrive on change. Some people don’t do well with change and we are all different. For me, I simply can’t stop myself when I realize I have become too complacent. It can be hard because sometimes it requires patience and balance. I want to work obsessively at it until it’s done, but that’s not always possible. When I met Matt who is now my husband, I didn’t hesitate for a second about moving to Canada. With previous boyfriends, I was full of hesitation about moving forward to more serious life commitments but this time it was effortless. I didn’t understand when people were perplexed or afraid for me when I decided I was going to move to Kelowna, BC where the only person I knew was Matt. I got a lot of raised eyebrows with the comment, “Uhhh, you’re moving to… Canada?” In hindsight, I guess it is a big deal to drop everything and move to another country, especially because I have known myself to be very practical and cautious when it came to relationships. I probably would have serious reservations about that choice if it was one of my friends and not me. I knew without a doubt it was right and I’ve never been happier. It felt so good to know and to have no doubt. It made me think a little more about judgments about other peoples’ choices. We may pass judgement upon others because maybe we don’t understand what someone else is doing with their life when they might have complete clarity about their choices. But judgement is an entirely different topic from change. The big decisions I have made have always been the right ones for me, and my personal volition has driven me to do things that may sound crazy and unconventional sometimes. I guess I am a bit unconventional! I’ve made some other big life decisions involving moves or switching careers in my 20s, and I have not regretted a single one of them. When you feel a strong pull to make a change, it is usually the right thing.
In 2013, I met another person who had an extremely empowering effect in my life; Shane Cooper who ownsDeFeet. I never had much mentoring with my cycling career, I just did what felt right. Without having a mentor, I would question myself and some of the things I wanted. Shane immediately understood what I was trying to do with my racing and recognized the value in the efforts I’ve been pouring into the cycling community over the last 5 years. He believed in me and created a launchpad that catapulted me onto a trajectory far surpassing any goal or expectation I’ve had. In previous years, I started believing in a general subdued attitude towards some of my professional goals as an athlete to the point where I stopped believing in myself to some degree; not with my physical racing achievements, but what I could expect of myself as an athlete in terms of a professional career. There is a lot of negativity out there, even amongst other pro athletes. Words and phrases seem to float around like, “can’t, selfish, no one else has done it, misunderstanding, you’re not worth it, we don’t have time, we don’t have money, it’s too hard” Shane snatched me out of the fog and said, “You CAN do it” when others had told me that I couldn’t. He had helped me believe in myself again. Sometimes it’s just easier to believe the negative things. When someone repeatedly tells you you’re not worth it, it can incrementally creep in and become a large weight you didn’t even know you had. It’s like putting a frog in cold water and slowing turning up the temperature. It happens in relationships, with health/weight gain, with careers and more.
That brings me to today. I am making some big changes to my program for 2015. Come back in a few days to read about it!