Last year, on March 1, I left my desk job behind. I walked out of the door of my steady, secure job (with health benefits) to pursue the idea of being a bike racer. I moved home with my parents. I sold all of my furniture, but everything else in boxes. I kept out yoga pants, some t-shirts and my kits. After two years of working full-time and attempting to train full-time, I took the risk of becoming a professional athlete.
The past year has been challenging. In some ways, it has been a "vacation" from real life. I didn't have to get up and shower and look presentable every day. But I struggled to ride my bike now that it was my job. I struggled with losing to an opponent, the disappointment of not making the World Cup teams and the sadness of missing out on a competition for which I had trained several months. But I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I need to give my body more rest than I have in the past. I learned that not every second of every day has to be filled with "busy-ness." I learned to love myself a little bit more.
Today, on March 1, 2014, I still don't have a regular, full-time job. I quit bike racing a few months ago. I didn't get a job that I was sure was mine. The future worries me. I don't know where I will work or what I will do or when I won't have to worry about health insurance. I don't know where I will live or what I will do about bikes. But I do know that the past year was a part of my learning trajectory.
I will never forget the admiration I gained for professional athletes. Watching the Olympic Games in Sochi was a totally different experience. I knew that the Games were not about the spectators, the media medal count and not always about the winners. Each athlete that was there was fulfilling a dream. And there were just as many, if not more athletes that were sitting at home on their couches, mourning the lost opportunity that they will no have a chance to attain for another four years.
But I am ready to move forward. I am learning to be OK with uncertainty. I am certain of a few things. I am grateful for my family who has supported me, especially my uncle and my parents. I am eager to give back to the world, instead of take from it. I excited to love people and receive love in return.
So much has changed in a year. And I expect things to change and be so much better on March 1, 2015.