Updated: Sep 2, 2020
“Look, I'm going to find a way to be happy, and I'd really love to be happy with you, but if I can't be happy with you, then I'll find a way to be happy without you.”
― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture
Even though I’m done with my sport and my team, I still get extremely anxious about things. During my last year doing gymnastics in college, I felt very paranoid that people were talking about me, and that I was doing something wrong. Even after I was done though, I found myself always trying to prove myself in terms of working out the most and eating the least to maintain a smaller figure than I naturally was supposed to be, and got mad at myself when I didn’t eat less than 1200 calories in a day, which eventually led to a binge of food. On my team, I was typically pretty laid back on things I saw as superficial, meetings in general where I felt like people’s feelings weren’t genuine, or even just discussing what we were going to wear. However, even after I was done, whenever I had a conversation with the same group, I still felt this anxiety, and I had no idea why. I think this anxiety is probably more common for athletes than I had previously thought. It’s almost sort of a PTSD reaction. Even more shocking though is the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was only feeling this way because I had been forced to spend time with those people, they weren’t actually people that I chose to be friends with.
Before I continue, I’d like to clarify that I’m not saying I don’t like them, or regret spending time with them. Actually, I’m unbelievably grateful that they were put in my life, as each person taught me some sort of life lesson, and I’ve definitely found friends for life on my team. However, recently, I’ve been getting to know people that I only knew as acquaintances because I could never do anything outside of class with because of practices, competitions, and the typical athlete grind. Now though, I have been able to develop these relationships and the most common comment I’ve gotten from these new friends is, “I didn’t know you were this funny or smiled this much”. Probably because I was living a life that I now realize I didn’t want or need. Which is TOTALLY FINE! So now that I’m transitioning out of sports, I’m planning on continuing with these new relationships and building my better self. For anyone else struggling with these types of feelings or anxiety, it has helped me tremendously to write out how I’m feeling or reach out to a loved one. Find what makes YOU happy.