How to Let Go When You Desperately Want to Hold On

 

For the Person Who Needs to Let Go and Trust in God’s Plan for Their Lives

I grasped the phone tightly as I felt its edges dig deep into the palm of my hand. The plastic cover that protected my phone quivered with fear as my fingers strangled the small, square electronic object. I pushed the phone a little harder against my ear as I heard his deep, soft voice smoothly protrude through the speaker.

Every muscle in my body was tense and my heart was racing with fear.

Fear of being abandoned.

Fear of being alone.

Fear of rejection.

And most importantly fear of the unknown.

My voice quivered with the same fear that ran through my veins. With shaky words and tears falling down my cheeks, I tried to convince him to stay. I tried to convince him that things will get better, the fighting will stop, the trust will grow and the love will remain.

I heard the foreign words that were carefully crafted roll off my tongue as I gasped for air in between sentences and sobs. You see, I was never really good with goodbyes or walking away from something or someone I loved. I was raised to never give up, to try harder, to keep pushing until you see the results you so desperately desired. So, when him and I said our final goodbyes and I love you’s, I felt an all consuming fear and pain engulf me.

Somewhere along the lines I associated my fears to this desperate need of trying harder in my relationships- intimate relationships and friendships. I guess I thought if you gave up on the relationship, you were giving up on love, and more importantly the person you loved. So, I held on tighter.

But I didn’t just hold onto the people in my life with a forceful grip, I held onto my insecurities of not feeling enough for someone.

I held onto this need to constantly compare myself to others, allowing feelings of jealousy to bubble up and overflow to those closest to me.

I desperately gripped onto my past relationships that never worked out and the pain they caused.

I clenched onto my fears, my selfish ways, my inability to let go of my pride and admit that I was wrong.

I was constraining the reckless, immature ways of handling situations instead of voicing my thoughts and feelings in a mature matter.

I used a bottle of tequila and nights out with my friends to mask the pain and make excuses for my poor behavior and choices.

I didn’t listen to others. I didn’t change. I just held onto these toxic qualities about myself because it was easier then going through the painful process of confronting each one of these areas.

And guess what?

I held onto all of these toxic qualities until it ruined a relationship that had the potential to be something extraordinary.


Sometimes it takes a person or a situation to shake up our world so drastically in order for us to confront, and let go of all the demons that have been hiding away inside us.


Through these painful situations we learn more about who we are, how we react to problems, how we might treat others when our fears and insecurities are raging in front of us, and most importantly the person we want to become after the pain subsides.

Unfortunately, the sad part about this is these individuals or situations rarely get to stay the same in our lives.

There are times where we must forgo what we thought would happen, or the plans we made for ourselves in order to step into the person and plans God has for us.

At the time of that phone call I felt as if my world was crashing down around me. Nothing was going as I wanted or expected it to go. I remember feeling beaten down and distraught because I was faced with multiple situations that shook me to the core of my being.

In the weeks that preceded the phone call, I was faced with the news that I needed to stay an extra four weeks in my student teaching placement after graduation. I would be allowed to walk in the ceremony and celebrate like any other individual who finally concluded their time at college, but I would have to return the following Monday to my placement school.

Once I made it through the four weeks, I was confronted with another set back. I was required to take an online summer class in order to bring up my GPA to graduate. In addition to all of this, I still needed to take my state level teaching certification tests, which cost lots of money- something I did not have. So, I attempted to look for a job. During this timeframe I felt like a huge failure. I felt as if I just could not get it right with anything, or anyone. I was a mess and took it out on everyone in my way, especially to those closest to me.

So when the phone rang that day, and my boyfriend told me he thought it would be better to focus on ourselves for awhile, it was the cherry on top of my disappointment cake.


What I did not realize at the time was God was calling me out of my toxic, selfish, and fearful ways. He was calling me to let go of my plans, and my expectations in order to turn to him and trust his ways more fully.

You see, I think there are times in our lives where we must lose it all in order to stretch more fully into the person we are meant to become.

We must hit rock bottom and come face to face with pain in order to fully understand, and accept that everything in this place that we are holding onto is keeping us from stepping into the next phase of our lives.

I had to let go of a lot in the weeks that followed the disappointing situations and break up I went through.

First, I had to confront and let go of the pain I felt. I had to accept my current reality for what it was. I had to understand the mistakes I made, not only in my relationship, or friendships, but this also included the mistakes I made along the way in my academic career that put me on the pathway that it did.

I had to let go of my fears of failing, being alone, my expectations of what I thought my future should look like, as well as the fear of facing the real world with not a clue on how to navigate being an adult. I then surrendered myself fully to God. I drew closer to him by praying, reading the bible, listening to music and sermons that encouraged and uplifted me out of the pain I was feeling.

By letting go, and giving my fears, insecurities, doubts, and the unknown future to God, I started feeling better, stronger, and more myself in the weeks that followed.

Now, a couple of months later I look back and I am thankful for all of the challenges, struggles, fears, and people I was holding onto so tightly and desperately. I realized I needed to face myself more fully, in order to realize how important it is to let certain things go.

You see readers, when we surrender our plans, our expectations, and our desperate wants and desires to the God of the universe, he listens, restores our brokenness, and pieces us back together little by little.

I received a second chance at loving the man on the phone. I am able to correct my mistakes and love more fully, whole heartedly and sacrificially the way Jesus wants us to love. I am able to walk boldly and confidently in the present situations I am faced with instead of being filled with fear.

So what are you holding onto?

Are you holding onto fear? Fear of failure? Fear of success? Fear of placing your trust and love in someone?

Are you holding onto past memories that are keeping you from living your life in the present?

Or maybe are you are holding onto high expectations and selfish ways, refusing to listen to others?

Whatever you are holding onto so tightly, so desperately I urge you to let go. This week focus on letting go of everything that is holding you back from becoming everything you are meant to be.

Give it all to the universe or to God, and trust that whatever is meant to happen in your life will in its own timing.

Choose things in your life that bring you happiness. Make choices little by little that point you on the pathway that you feel you are meant to be on.

Let go, and let the creator of the universe do the rest.

Until next time,

afterlightimage-2
God Bless,
L.Blum

Ready or Not the Real World is Calling: A College Graduate’s Guide to Moving on.

 

ready or not the real world is calling cover


 

I quickly cut my steering wheel to the right and smoothly pulled up the semi steep, black driveway that led to my little college house. My foot pressed down tightly on the brake pedal as I pushed the gear into park; an action I have done over and over since living here. I felt my blue Toyota Rav 4 jolt to a stop as I sat back in my seat admiring the small, cottage, college house.

 
In front of me a singular, white garage door kissed my car ever so slightly. To the left of the garage, a small white deck protruded slightly out a few feet with bright red bricks lining the awkward spaces. On the white siding next to the garage door, the number 112 rested slightly in a fancy font. Above the small deck, large, spacious windows lined the front of the house. Oh, how many times I have looked out those windows into the world outside this small little house, I thought to myself.

 
I clicked the small red button that hooked the seat belt into place and opened my car door. Stepping out of my car I took a long, deep breath, filling my lungs with air, and with an exhale I slammed the car door shut. I have stepped out of my car and walked up to the bright red door of this house so many times before. This time is different though because this time is the last.

 
This is it, I thought to myself, my final goodbye to my college days.

 
I confidently walked up to the red door and stuck my small, silver key into the key hole. With a swift turn of the golden knob I pushed the door open and walked through the doorway.

 

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset
Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

 
It is so empty…I thought to myself.

 
This once busy house filled with the chatter and hustle of my roommates remained empty, still and quiet. With all the furniture gone, and my roommates officially moved out, this house is nothing but a foundation of walls, floors, and rooms ready to house the next group of individuals.

 
Leaving a place and moving on is never an easy thing to do.

 
Whether it is moving to a new city or town, changing job locations, or graduating from college and moving back home; change is never easy.

But change is necessary for our growth as individuals.

 
If there is anything that I learned in the last six years of college it’s the fact that we are all humans-flawed, and imperfect-living out life to tell our own individual stories through our experiences. We as individuals choose to write our own stories, chapters, and endings.

 

 

ready or not the real world is calling quote 1

 
East Stroudsburg is not just a small little town that houses a “mediocre” sized college. To many, East Stroudsburg is home. I call this place my home because of all the memories and people who reside in it. Without the people, my small little cottage college house would just be a house built on a firm foundation on a certain street, in a certain city. What makes a particular house or place a home is the people. It’s the late nights that my roommates and I stay up and talk about life and all that it has to offer. This place is a home because of the nights we all laughed and cried about the mess our lives hold and the places we will eventually go. It is the late drunk nights where we were all silly messes wondering home from main street speaking in a jumbled language that only we could understand.

 
This place is a home because of the pre-game pep talks our coaches gave us before important games. It’s the stadium being filled with fans painted with our numbers on their chests as my teammates and I ran up and down the field. It’s the cheers, the laughs, the games played, the sweat dripped, the tears cried.

It is friendship.

 

It is figuring out who you are and who you are not.

 

It is a place.

 

It is the people.

 

It is the memories.

 

But most importantly it is a home.

 
Sometimes certain situations or circumstances like moving on from a place we considered home for so long forces us to take a deeper look at our inner selves. We reevaluate and realign how we view our past, our present and our future. We ask ourselves, what do I want for my life and how do I want to live? It is through these trivial circumstances and major life changes where we transform, transcend and even transcribe into the person we are meant to become. We transform the soul into a new masterpiece by stretching beyond familiarity or comfort. We transcend past our old ways of thinking and acting by living unashamed in our present while working hard and moving towards our goals. Finally, we transcribe a theoretical mark or imprint that can be left on the places and people we leave behind.

 

ready or not quote 2
So, readers, regardless of where you are at in life we all must leave something behind in order to grow and mature into who we are meant to become. Maybe that “something” could be old habits or ways of thinking that hold you back from the person you could potentially be. Maybe you are moving on to a new job, leaving behind new friends, or you are like me, forced to grow up and face the real world.

 
Wherever you are at, the real world is calling.

 

You see, the real world to me is a theoretical place I like to call unfamiliarity. It is a place that calls us out of where we feel comfortable, secure, and at home with ourselves.

East Stroudsburg is my home. There will always be a part of me residing in that place, but the real world is calling. I must move on from this place, gather my things, and move back to my parent’s home to start a life that was truly made for me. It may be scary, and heck living with my parents sounds god awful (sorry mom and dad nothing against you I just really like my freedom), but I must transition from this part of my life, leave behind this home, to create a new one.

 
Home can be a place, and it can be the people.

 
But home can also be the memories that come with the people and the places. Home resides in the memories and the person we are at specific moments in time; glimpses of who we were and who we became with certain people in certain places.

 
When we think of moving on in this essence it takes on a whole new meaning. Physically we let go of certain people, places, and things in our life, but home is the memories we make. The person we are. The person we become.

 
Home is evolving and constantly moving.

 
So, moving on should be quite simple. Let yourself go. Move on from each place, each person, because you can always revisit home in your memories. Home will be closer than you think.

 
But for now, the real world is calling.

 
Will you answer?

 

 

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

 

God Bless,
L. Blum

Unfinished: When You Feel like You are Not Good Enough.

UNFINISHED_ when you feel like you are not good enough

 

I gazed inquisitively at the waves as they crashed one after another on the solid, sandy shore. In front of the place where I was sitting, two young girls were laughing, screaming and jumping in the water. Their playful screams echoed through the roar of the ocean as  each wave came crashing at their feet. I giggled to myself at their innocence and thought for a second, when did growing up become so hard? 

I observed the two young girls laugh and enjoy life without a care in the world and it brought me back to memories when my sister and I stood in their shoes. I remember sitting on these very beaches in North Carolina at their age, running, jumping, dancing in the sun with my sister. We were so little and so innocent. The world did not touch us with pain, hurt, and the realities of life just yet.

When did growing up become so hard_

I remember pretending we were queens of the ocean, and mermaids who explored the deep sea to find hidden underwater cities. We had ambitions and dreams to be leaders, actors, teachers, and world changers. We pretended to be wonderful beings with a wonderful life, living out our biggest dreams, goals and ambitions. We had the world at our fingertips imagining anything and everything we have ever wanted. That was when life was good, easy. It was innocent, with no hurt, no pain, no people influencing you to be who they want you to be. It just was. And it was good.

When we were all children we played, we explored, we laughed, and we enjoyed life to its fullest. We had a childlike faith that was unshakable. We all believed in ourselves, our abilities, and our aspirations.

When did the world take those beliefs away? When did life become the daily to-do lists, or the anxieties, the worries, or the pressures of measuring up to the world’s standards and the opinions of others? 

I think in some aspect or another everyone has confronted this loss of innocence as we grow up and face the realities, disappointments and pain that life may inflict upon us. We each have these images of the person we want to be in our heads. That “ideal” being and “ideal” life we wish to live. We strive to be that perfect person that is good enough, smart enough, and CAN do everything that our real selves lack. We each strive to become that person, to do what it takes to change ourselves into this perfect version of who we are.

we will never be perfect

The reality is we will never measure up to that “ideal” version of ourselves. We will never be perfect. When we think we finally have one part of ourselves mastered, there will be another area to perfect, to work on, to strive towards, and this is OKAY.

I am not sure what path of life you may be on right now or the struggles you may be facing. Maybe you are struggling to find that perfect, suiting job. You are trying to change yourself to fit into the mold of the career path you chose; attempting to  perfect each quality to match the ideal job resume for the career you have chosen to pursue .

Maybe you are trying to live up to the perfect standards of parenthood, competing with all other parents around you, listening to the type of parent you should be, or what you should not do for your child.

Or maybe, you are listening to the opinions of others way too much, pleasing people rather than honoring yourself or your own choices. Maybe you are listening too much to the voices of those who tell you who you are, who you are not, and who you should be. You try to measure up to their worth, their standard, and come to find you let them down or fail every time you try to mold yourself to their ideals of who you are.

In actuality, we are imperfect beings trying to live in a society that pushes its standards of perfection on each one of us.

The truth is we are all unfinished, and imperfect. 

But let me tell you a little secret, by God’s grace, and perfection, our imperfections are made whole. What this means, is through our creator’s perfect eyes and love for us, he choose to create us as imperfect beings. It is through our imperfections we reflect what it really means to be human, to be flawed, to need a God who is loving and perfect in His entirety and covers our imperfections with His forgiveness, and His love. Thus, we do not have to live up to this standard of perfection we place on ourselves. We do not have to struggle, or try to be this “ideal” “perfect” version of who we want to be. Our worth is not measured on what others think of us, the amount of items we check off on our to-do list, our accomplishments, our failures, our struggles, or even our flaws.

god imperfections

 

Our worth is measured by who we are IN our IMPERFECTIONS. The unfinished versions of ourselves. 

I have this sweatshirt from one of my favorite Christian bloggers, Jordan Dooley, it says “your brokenness is welcome here.” Every time I wear it I remember I do not have to live up to these ideals of perfection. I do not have to continue to expend my energy trying to fix every little thing that is wrong with myself and my life. Instead, I can focus on God’s grace and love that covers my imperfections and my brokenness. I can focus on being the kind of woman God wanted me to be- kind, caring, passionate, loving, happy, excited for life. I can live a life of joy, happiness, and have that child-like faith and innocence like I had when I was younger. Life will still have its struggles, and its pain, but I know I don’t have to try so hard to be perfect, to be accepted, or to be who others want me to be, because I am already accepted, I am already loved, by a God who embraces me for the imperfect mess that I am.

 

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Whether you believe in God or not, trying to live up to the standards of society and the daily stresses of trying to be perfect, or enough for this world can weigh on you.

So instead of trying  to focus on perfecting  every aspect of who you are, or what you want your life to look like, love yourself in your imperfections, and the places where you are at in this moment of time. Go back to that little child inside of you, find him or her, the innocence, the happiness, the childlike faith and focus on living a life that brings out joy, happiness and love. Live in the imperfect moments, and accept the flaws you have, while striving not for perfection of those flaws, but of being a work in progress. Work hard to accomplish your dreams and goals, but know the imperfections and flaws do not define who you are.

You are unfinished and imperfect, a work in progress, and this is okay.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

God bless,

L. Blum

 

 

 

 

 

Looking Back, While Moving Forward

Looking Back, While moving Forward

Closing Out Chapter 2017

 

With only a few unwritten pages left in the chapter twenty-seventeen, it is only right to finalize the ending with some closing remarks. Like any natural story, chapter endings end where the chapter really began -reflecting back on the previous chapter.

 

You see, chapter endings are really just strange pauses in a story. The last period, in the last sentence, on the last page, gives readers a chance to reflect on the chapter, it’s characters, plot, and the story as a whole, before beginning the first page in the next chapter of a book.

 

The celebration of the New Year is a lot like that last period, on the last page of a chapter.

The New Year is essentially the ending of one chapter and beginning of another, which gives us all a chance to reflect on our own stories, chapters, and characters within in them.

 

new year blog pic 1
For myself, as I look back on this last year I can definitely say that this year brought lots of tears, smiles, laughter, doubts, sadness, joy, anger, happiness, and much, much more. This year was a growing year to say the least.
As the year 2017 comes to a close, so does another chapter in my book.
2017 for me, began with heartbreak and loss – loss of love, loss of passion, and loss of myself. In the beginning, I tried everything to run from myself and the pain I felt. Instead of embracing the beauty of the pain, I ran away from it, and sprinted directly into the arms of this corrupt world. I saw myself in such a negative light. You see, I saw myself as a failure and incompetent to complete the goals I set out for myself from the beginning of the year. I felt purposeless and unworthy of love.

 

Reflecting back, it took a lot of circumstances, and a few individuals in particular to help redirect me onto the right path, a path of happiness, joy, opportunities, and most importantly, a path of love.

 

I am not sure what this last year brought you, maybe it was a year full of opportunities and great experiences. A written chapter that was filled with content and happiness that you wish you could relive all over again. Or maybe this year brought you set backs and loss. The year was a year you are happy to move on from.

 

Or maybe, just maybe, this year, like mine, was a growing year for you. A year of losing yourself, and finding you all over again. Maybe it was a year that allowed you to peel back yet another layer of yourself to get to know yourself better than before.

 

new year pic 2
You see to me, the New Year is not about the shallow resolutions we make for ourselves or changing who we are into a “new me” because it is a “new year.” We should be constantly evaluating our lives throughout the year, and adapting ourselves to the goals and aspirations we have set for ourselves all along. Just because it is a new year does not mean a person should leave who they are behind and chase after this idea of a completely different, “newer” and “better” version of themselves.

 

To me readers, the New Year is about celebrating the big moments and small moments that have accumulated over the course of the entire year prior. It is about the people we were when we first started the year and who we have become.

 

 

Is this new person wiser? Is he or she stronger? Has he or she overcome struggles and mountains to step into the person that is sitting here reading this post?
OR
Has this new person failed in some way? Did they have all of these plans and promises to oneself but the person sitting here is filled with regret, hopelessness, sorrow or doubt?
Regardless of who you were when you first entered the year and who you are now, there is an opportunity to move forward, to learn from the good and the bad, and step into the hope of a better future.

 

2018 new year

 

What do you want your new chapter to look like? How will you write it?

Feel free to like and share any thoughts in the comment section below!

 

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset
Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

 

God Bless and Happy New Year!

L.Blum

 

 

 

 

 

A Letter to the Individuals who are Still Playing the Game

A Championship that Taught me Life’s Greatest Lessons

IMG_3196

Sitting on a slightly, raised, grassy hill only a few feet away from the bright, green turf field, I stared intently at the small, orange ball as it traveled from one side of the field, to the the other. From the place where I was sitting, I could hear the familiar pounding of the Asics turf shoes hammering the rubber pellets into the turf. Twenty-two pairs of cleats stomped the ground, to compete for the possession of the small, round ball. The smacking of the composite sticks hitting the ball, and the blow of the high pitch whistles rang all too familiar songs in my ears.
The place where I was sitting contained a scattered group of fans ranging from students to parents, bundled in East Stroudsburg University colors. The fall air contained a cold, crisp, breeze that blew ever so slightly against my face, sending a familiar chill through out my entire body. The afternoon sun peeked through the towering trees that were planted behind the field. The sun’s rays slightly kissing my body with warmth. Sitting in the fan section, I watched my old field hockey teammates compete on their home field. Man, I miss it, I thought to myself, remembering how it felt to step foot onto the very field I was looking at. Suddenly, a feeling of nostalgia and emptiness washed over me, as a memory from the last time I played flooded my mind.

 

IMG_3266

 

I took a slow and steady inhale that allowed the cold, crisp air to travel down my chest and into my lungs. I could feel my lungs slowly expanding like a balloon stretches and expands when one places air in it. The crisp air filled every crevice of my lungs causing a burning sensation deep within my chest. I held my breath for a moment causing the burning sensation to become more prominent. I then let out my breath in a big puff ,watching the cold air swarm around my face. I felt the release of my nerves as I quickly exhaled. It was in that moment I felt more alive then I ever have before. I took a look around at the large, empty, green field that was set before me and thought this is it, my last game ever – a championship game. I could feel the sun beating on my face despite the cold, fall day. I could feel the wind brush his hand over my entire body causing a chill to make my arm hairs stand on edge. Deep with in my soul I could feel this game was going to be life changing.

 


Standing on the edge of the field in that moment of time was a metaphor for my final game as an athlete. The edge of that black cement meeting up with the bright green, plastic turf represented the seventy minutes that kept me from either becoming a national champion or a regular college student. It was a defining moment that made me realize all that the sport has provided me with: friendships, a passion for something I love to do, and life’s most prominent messages. In that moment I realized how much love I had for the game, and decided that I was going to exert all the energy I had for the next seventy minutes of my life. Win or lose, I’ll look back and know I put my heart and soul out on that field.


I looked to the right of me at my fellow senior, and captain who displayed a nervous, yet determined facial expression. She looked back at me and slyly stated, “Let’s do this.” I held out my hand and smiled, as she grabbed it I stated back, “Let’s.” I narrowed my eyes, and marched out onto the battle field. I lifted my one foot off of the black cement, and onto the cushy, soft turf. Hand in hand, and side by side, my teammates and I journeyed across the field to place our belongings on the bench that was assigned to us.

IMG_3154
Experts say that mental pictures and videos are moments in our lives that stand out the most to us. They are moments where we feel the utmost joy and happiness, or the most pain and sorrow. As human beings we capture these good and bad experiences as pictures in our brains. We store the most prominent memories so we can look back on them as we grow older and smile at the good, or weep at the bad. We, humans, were created this way to draw upon these stored memories to feel the way we were feeling in the exact moment they happened. The purpose of this design was so that we as individuals can understand that we truly are living this overall great experience of life.
I produced a mental picture of that day that will forever be burned into my memory. With the rap music blaring, my teammates singing at the top of their lungs, some dancing, some banging on lockers, I managed to quiet my mind and take in every little detail that was going on around me. I closed my eyes for a split second and felt the bass of the music rattle my ear drums to the beat of each lyric. My teammate’s voices echoed throughout the entirety of the small, square room, bouncing off of the red lockers and cement walls. Their loud singing, that was more or less like yelling the lyric to each song filled the air with excitement. I inhaled the sweet aroma of shin guards and turf shoes, and with an exhale I opened my eyes. I looked around at the cluster of rambunctious girls that were scattered throughout the small space. Each one had an enthusiastic smile plastered across their face. The theme amongst all of us was evident – this moment would be it- we would either win it all, or lose, but we all, as a team came this far. As I took in the wild scene before me, my lips curled into a blissful smile. The thought, I made it came across my mind.

 

image

The day my teammate’s and I won the Division II National Championship was a day that I will never forget. I can still feel the thrill of emotions as the ball smacked the back of the cage. I can hear the high pitch whistle blow a long and steady noise signaling the game has come to a end. I remember filling with excitement as my teammate’s and I sprinted onto the field to tackle one another. Cameras flashed in all of our faces as we collectively lifted the heavy, National Championship trophy high over our heads.
For me, I think what made this day so memorable was the fact that this was how I ended my athletic career. Years of hard work and perseverance led up to this moment- a reward for the countless hours I, as well as my teammate’s put into the sport.

 

image
The sport of field hockey, or any team sport for that matter is a sport of camaraderie, diligence, teamwork, perseverance and so much more. The lessons an individual learns by joining a team sport is far beyond what any professor or teacher can teach a person in a classroom. Field hockey has taught me the essence of friendship with my fellow teammates. I learned how to respect individuals for who they are even if they are different from me.The game taught me to always have my fellow mans back in good times and bad. I learned how to show respect for my coaches, or any individuals in a position of authority. Field hockey taught me that my body will be fatigued and may fail itself, yet my mind can push farther than I ever thought I could go. The sport taught me to push through what ever adversary that is thrown my way because I am much stronger than any problem that I face. I became educated in how to properly fuel my body and love it for all that it does and is. Finally, the sport taught me to have faith- faith in a God who listens, faith in my teammate’s, coaches, and finally faith in myself.

 

IMG_3272

So to the individuals who still play the game,

There is a feeling of emptiness that washes over an athlete as he or she lays down their uniform for the very last time. Thoughts of now what? and what’s next? flood to the front of a newly retired athlete’s mind. At first it may feel relieving to be finished with the busy schedules, and constant “go go, go” motions. The newfound freedom to do what you want, when you want to may seem enticing, BUT once the realization of being officially done kicks in, you’ll face emotions of heartbreak, loss, and nostalgia.

An old teammate once told me, finishing a sport a person competes in for a majority of their life is a lot like a really bad break up. I never understood this comparison until I was placed in her shoes. I tried to avoid the pain by joining different clubs and organizations that would distract me while I was still at school. I stayed far away from a field hockey stick or the sport itself to keep me from reminiscing on all the memories I made over the years. This distracted my mind temporarily until I was faced with emotions of incompleteness. The sport made me who I was, and will continue to be a large part of who I am.

So to anyone who is stepping away from the game, prepare yourself for these emotions. Embrace them and know that it is natural to feel the way you feel for something that was apart of you for so long. Reminisce on all the memories you made with your teammates and coaches, for these memories will be near and dear to your heart.

FINALLY, to the individuals who still play,

 

1. Don’t take the small moments for granted.

It is easy to take the bus rides, breakfasts with the team, and pre-game talks for granted. These moments may seem small but they are going to be the big moments you will remember in the long run after you are finished playing. Take in the way it feels to sit on the long bus rides to the far away games. You may hate sitting in a cramped space for hours on end, but think about the memories you made on the bus trips -the songs you sang with the team, the talks, the chants, the funny moments-you’ll miss them all. Remember the atmosphere of the locker room and the excitement you feel leading up to stepping onto the field.

 

2. Respect and value your teammate’s and the relationships you formed with them

I think this is the biggest lesson I have learned by taking a step away from the sport. The individuals that surround you on your team are ones that mold and shape you into the person you will become. Enjoy the memories you form with each member on your team, young and old. These are the people you spend the most time with during your season, and they understand the competitive nature within you. Have fun with each of them, respect their differences, and value the times and memories you will make with them while playing a sport you all love.

 

3. Respect your coaches

Understand that your coaches are doing the best they can to help you to develop into a strong, confident player. Listen to the advice and criticism they may give, they are only trying to help you succeed. Be thankful that they have pushed you to be the athlete, and person you are.

 

4. Just Play

If I could go back in time this is something I would tell myself over and over again. Just Play. Enjoy the sport for exactly what it is – a game that you enjoy to partake in. Do not let the pressure of winning or losing, get to your head. Have confidence in yourself, and in your teammate’s abilities. Enjoy every second of being able to play the sport you love because one day, you will not be able to. Have fun with every moment, and stay positive. When you are finished competing, you’ll remember the moments on the field that shaped you, and the joy you felt by just playing.

-advice from a washed up athlete

image

God bless,
L.Blum