When was the last time you did something for the first time?
I've experienced more firsts in the last few months than I have the last few years, and I'm not mad about it. My first spin class - borderline death. First time working with a personal trainer of my choosing. First (and hopefully last) surgery. Most recently, seeing new places for the first time, and the first road trip with my high school girlfriends. It's a breath of fresh air to gain a new perspective on anything and everything the moment you branch into the unknown.
My life as an athlete is full of routine, as it is for most jobs. Day in and out; wake up, eat, practice, eat, nap, practice, eat, Netflix/Facetime, sleep. And year after year; Play pro in Europe, return to Team Canada, spend minimal time with loved ones, say goodbyes and back to Europe. There isn't always time for adventure, for new and meaningful experiences beyond the daily grind. I'm not complaining, but damn it's hard to maintain.
While in Europe I always count down the days until I return home to Canada, and then once in Canada, usually Winnipeg, I count down the days until I see my family and friends. The countdowns are ridiculous. 220 days till the season is over. 180 until I'm home. 100 more, I’m almost there. It’s silly. Always dreaming of being somewhere else.
Now that I’m injured, my countdown consists of when I can return to play - and my routine is a little all over the place. I’m not sure when I will stop the habit of counting down, I think it's a nurturing mechanism that makes me feel secure in what I'm doing when I'm not always so sure what I'm doing. (And maybe I enjoy the satisfaction of crossing off the boxes when a day is complete)
I bet you've all done it before. Counted down the days until the weekend. The days remaining until Christmas or important holidays. Or maybe you count the hours until the work day is over so you stare at the clock and 5 minutes has hardly passed.
It's ironic, because people often talk about living in the moment, and as an athlete I talk about playing in the moment, whatever that really means. Hard to do that when you're dreaming of something in the future. I often yearn for a life that I can't necessarily have, and honestly the countdowns are a bummer.
But, here I am finding value in the simplicity of my life now. The value in slowing down. And the value in letting life unfold as it may.
The value in making the days count and not counting the days. There's a first for everything right?
I’ve lived on Vancouver Island for 21 years. It is my home base. Where I return during breaks, and where I run to when I want to escape. I am an island girl. And with every return I've been able to appreciate the beauty in our backyard and be inspired by the moments; not in extravagant places, but with extraordinary people.
I appreciate having grown up with friends who have always welcomed me back into their lives with open arms.
At the end of summer 2008 I left home for the first time, returning for days or weeks every so often. And I lost touch with almost everyone I considered my friend. It's been a steady stream of firsts since then. First break up, first time in a club, first time living in Europe, etc and with each first I've grown on my own.
Well, 8 years later here we are having matured just a little from navigating the course of our own lives. Trying to squeeze in a few more firsts with the time we have and find value in the moments we have together.
"Sometime you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory" - Dr Seuss.
PS. Unless you're crazy, never drive to and from Tofino in a day unless you want to live in a world of car sickness.