That's it, The Turning Point
2019 was really an awakening time for me, let me tell you why.
Hmm... where do I begin?
Throughout the years I slowly started to lose who I was. Every birthday that came around, I would question where my life was going. I knew I had so much more to offer, but my purpose wasn't clear. I began to doubt everything I was doing; was this a mid-life crisis? I'm not sure, but what I did know is that I was slowly destroying myself by putting other people before myself. I was sending myself to rock bottom—I knew I was doing it but I didn't know how to fix it. I felt trapped. And just when I needed it, life threw me a few curve balls to help open my eyes.
The first curve ball— I injured my ankle at soccer, the one thing that brings me so much joy since I was a kid. At first, I thought I had twisted my ankle, which after everything it probably would've been a better outcome. After an X-Ray, they found that my left ATFL (Anterior Talofibular Ligament) had completely detached and I had a partially ruptured my surrounding ligaments. So, the next step was to see a specialist, who advised against surgery as it was a longer recovery time (six to eight months); and because I was still young, his advice was to concentrate on rehab and hope that the other muscles and ligaments should help support my ankle - but not to rule our surgery in future. This still left me in a moon boot for five weeks, and then a total of four months to be back on the pitch playing. I was shattered, heartbroken.
The second curve ball— my grandma passed away, so did my grandpa the following month. Sadly, they were in China and I was in the US probably separated by more than 5000 km. Knew they had been sick for a while but unfortunately, I was in finals week and didn’t have enough money to buy a flight ticket to be with them one last time. I had a close “friend,” so I decided to tell that person what had happened because I was overwhelmed. Something unusual since I am usually a very closed person. But surprisingly, this person was busy with final exams as I was, preferred to focus on finishing their homework instead of being there as a friend. That really hurt and shocked me. What did I do next? Suppressed my emotions so it wouldn't affect me neither in my work, nor in my studies, nor so that people noticed that I was in mourning. Always trying to put a smile on life. It was one of the saddest moments of my life.
The third curve ball—I found out I had been dealing with a toxic friendship. Being in a toxic friendship was just tiresome and stressful. It often leaves the impression that something isn’t quite right, though you can’t identify exactly what. After being unhappy in this friendship for a while but being so scared to leave plus the way this person behaved when I lost my grandparents, it was the last straw. Enough was enough, and I parted ways.
Throughout my experiences I have learned some important lessons. Even though they also came with deep sadness and hurt, I always felt like it was for a reason. I look back, and I'm just so proud of myself. So proud that I came out the other side, positive about my past and stronger than before. If I had settled and thought negatively about each situation, I would still be in that same mindset of "I'm not sure where my life is headed, what is my purpose?" and still unhappy within myself. I now understand that phrase that you always hear—Everything happens for a reason. For this, I now appreciate my family, I now take my fitness and health seriously, and I now see my worth—anyone that does not value me, I no longer associate myself with. I guess some people may call me selfish, but I choose to be that way, to be the best version of myself. Cutting people from your life is sometimes necessary for your peace; you shouldn't feel guilty about it.
I understand that when you feel like you're struggling and life is really challenging you, it is difficult to see "the lessons to be learned," it's difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But remember this: a month, six months, a year or two earlier, you thought the same. You were in a position that threatened all that you had, you didn't think you would survive. But look where you are now. You did survive. You reminded yourself of what good you still have to give, even if you are surviving each day as it comes, that's okay—you got this. You have the strength to save yourself. Because if you quit now, you'll end up right back where you first began; and when you first began you were desperate to be where you are right now, so keep going.
I was in this exact position almost a year and a half ago. I thought when will this end, when will things get better, but I took each day as it came. I found things I was grateful for and concentrated on that. But I found myself in a place where I felt alone and didn't speak up about how I was feeling as I was never one to talk openly about my emotions, I didn't want to burden anyone—because everyone has their own struggles. I learned to depend on myself a lot, most of my strength comes from having to pull myself out of those places. Think, what is hurting you now? It won't last forever. And to talk to the ones you love and trust if you are struggling, it's not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength.
Fast forward to now and I couldn't be happier with my life. I now look back to where I was and I am so proud of myself. I walked away from friendships, the security of a single job—anything that no longer allowed me to grow, be my true self or see my worth. I'm beyond grateful for my experiences. I no longer associate myself with friends who don't see my worth. And I put my feelings before everything. My life has changed for the greater good and I hope you feel the same way; if not today or tomorrow, then in the near future.