If I had to sum up the last year in a few words I would struggle for hours. I feel like I wrote a similar post like this a year ago too, and maybe even a year ago before that. It is true that your life is constantly revolving and changing and sometimes it will feel like you are constantly plummeting for what seems like forever. I had a lot of years like that. This post is just another one of those, “Thank god I survived” posts. Another milestone, another life event in the books.
If you had asked me when I was 12 what I would be doing at 20 I would say I would be attending the University of Guelph, studying Kinesiology to become a physiotherapist. I would be happy, I would be coaching. It was not a bad life plan. If not Guelph, my back up plan was Dalhousie and if not physiotherapy it would have been pedagogy. I would have never experienced depression, would have never had such highs and lows and would have been comfortable most of the time. Sitting here I realize that I would have loved that life too, and so would a lot of people. The cards I was dealt had me meeting a lot of people who would have liked this life and the courage to move away from the shore would have been long gone.
I will be the Canadian Ambassador at the United Nations and Right to Play Sport for Development and Peace Summit, Leadership Camp in Florida in a month. I just got the news yesterday, an all-inclusive, opportunity to meet with 30 other youth leaders from around the world. For 2-weeks we will be learning and working alongside leaders of sport and bringing our knowledge back home where we will attempt to make sport the universal language of youth, the most powerful form of opportunity and the best way to bring hope to the discouraged. Ask me at 12 if I would be doing this and I would not even know what that was.
So I am sitting at one of my jobs (a tiny little restaurant that I literally walked in and they had a job for me), it is a 4-hour shift which, during the day can feel like an eternity. It doesn’t. I am daydreaming and sitting on the sink thinking about how much I love the life I live. Three weeks ago I would have never said that. It is amazing how many bad things can happen to a person all at once but how quickly that can be overcome by good things with just a positive outlook and some hope. I read a quote that just fuelled so much more happiness into my day because I felt I was succeeding: “The real measure of your wealth is how much you’d be worth if you lost all your money.” I have been there, I have lost all my money. Not a very unique story for a University student but I have always wondered how it is I feel the need to give despite having very little. I have been in trouble for it and it has made me angry but it’s just something I do. It all came full-circle the last few days. Anybody who has ever told me that I fixate and focus on the wrong things has been silenced. Those who have snickered at my efforts or told me “why bother” has been defeated. I am making my dreams come true at 20 and I want to bring young, ambitious youth with me and inspire them to do the same. The road to getting to your dreams is ugly and full of people who think you’re too much, too little, too bitchy, too soft. It is full of your greatest supporters letting you down, the most silent of warriors raising your spirit and those who are afraid to recognize greatness when they see it because they are too consumed with their own. If the world was perfect, Nelson Mandela would have been just an ordinary man, Aung San Suu Kyi would be a free woman, because greatness would not have been an exception but a routine. I have no interest in working alone, the dumbest thing a person could do is think they can do it all, and even worse, do it all by themselves. I see no future for the selfish or the conceited, but the saying that you cannot change a person is not true. You can change people, at the cost of your dignity, but it was never really about you in the first place. When you change people, you change the world, and I came into this world wanting to do that. I have partially succeeded. Learn from me, in two weeks I will probably have another meltdown, my life will probably be ugly again, but then hope will come from somewhere and maybe then you will realize that you can have it all but you can lose it too. So when I am old and wrinkly, what is the part I choose to remember?
I get to coach the sport I love, fight for something I am passionate for, go to school for something I want to be, be around people who raise me up and go to bed happy. If that is not a life then I do not know what is.