Long Sleeve Top (wearing a medium) // Long Duster Sweater (Calvin Klein at T.J. Maxx but similar here that I also have + love) || Jeans (sold out BDG from Urban Outfitters but similar here || Handbag || Booties (fit true to size) || Photography: Rachel Leiner Photography
Ohhh, life. It has a way of making us feel happy, excited, joyous, and yet sometimes, sad, defeated, and hopeless. I told you guys here that lately, I’ve been doing a ton of reflecting. I think part of it is me getting older and another is the fact that I have an hour commute each way to work so I do a lot of thinking! If you guys are anything like me then you know that sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes that’s a bad thing! Overthinking a situation is never good in my experience lol. Anyways, I’ve been thinking a lot about the things that don’t work out how we planned them to or the way we wanted them to.
So you might be thinking, things not working out how you wanted them to is a GOOD thing? Not to fear, I will explain. First I will start by saying that I’m not an overly religious person. I do have faith and go to church a couple times a year, however, I don’t consider myself religious. I do enjoy going to church and went as a child, however, it hasn’t become a habit in my adult life. One of my deep beliefs is that God (or whoever you believe in as a higher being) has much greater aspirations for us than we even think are possible. Sometimes we might think something is perfect for us, but God says… Nope. You can do better. I can do better for you. So whatever it is doesn’t work out. To us it comes across as a failure, disappointment, and can often bring deep sadness. When you start to accept things “not working out,” you can then start to realize that it’s not a complete failure. It’s life bringing something better into your life.
When you sit down and really think about it… It’s pretty wild how ONE thing happening can change the entire course of your life. Can you guys think of one thing happening in your life that caused a chain reaction to everything else happening? I think of this example often from my own life (Bear with me, this is long but I think it’s worth reading, and I hope it brings a new perspective to you).
As a child, gymnastics was a HUGE part of my life. It was essentially my world. I went to practices 5-6 days a week for 3-4 hours each day and had meets on Sundays that could sometimes last for six hours. As you can probably imagine from a crazy schedule like that, I made huge sacrifices. And so did my parents (thank you Mom and Dad). When I got to the middle school years, I really started to feel it. I felt like I missed out on a lot with friends and almost like I had my own secret life outside of school. Since gymnastics wasn’t a school sport, and only a couple other people from my school went to my gym, I think everyone just thought that athletics weren’t my thing. Little did they know that I was slaving away (honestly it felt like that some days) in a gym late into the evenings every day after school. When I went through puberty, my body felt awkward, and nothing came as easy as it used to (although I will say it never truly came easy to me… I worked really hard for all of my skills). I kept getting injured… Nothing too serious. Mostly overuse injuries like tendonitis in my wrists and then eventually stress fractures in my legs. I would sit at practice every night after school exhausted and would have to keep conditioning. The rule was that even if you were injured, you would still need to show up to practice and support your teammates and also do conditioning that didn’t affect the part of your body that was injured. After months and months of showing up to practices not being able to do anything, my mind started to wander… What if I was done with this? What would my life look like without this sport? I was terrified to quit for fear of what my coach would say (we were all scared of him), yet I was miserable. I would cry on the way to practices and just felt so done. But at the same time, this was the only life I knew, so the fear of being done with that was almost scarier.
Eventually, my doctor and occupational therapist convinced me that it didn’t make sense to continue with this sport. After 10 years of this sport (and I was only 14 or 15 at this point), my body couldn’t handle it anymore. I was sick of sitting on the sidelines of every practice and meet, so I made the tough decision to be done with the sport. This is where life really got confusing for me. My parents always had a rule that my siblings and I either needed to do a sport or we would have to get a job. They didn’t want us having a lot of free time to potentially get in trouble. My mom convinced me to try out for cheerleading (and the coach even called my house to talk to my mom and try to convince me). Even though I was pretty confident that I had the skills to compete, I was terrified at the thought of doing something new and I was also terrified of my gymnastics coach finding out (he hated cheerleaders). Long story short, I decided to try out for the team as a freshman in high school and made Varsity.
I hated cheerleading at first, but that’s a story for another time. In that first year, I began to love it. Also in that time, the gymnastics gym I had spent a decade at, closed. This was a huge deal because this was a small town in Maine where there wasn’t just another gym 10 minutes away like there is in a city. I had teammates still in the sport that then committed to driving over an hour and a half from their homes to a new gym. This is one of the first instances in my life that I can remember thinking… “Holy crap. I’m so glad I got out when I did.” I would have been devastated had I still been going there. My life would have felt like it was being ripped from under my feet. Start to notice how things have a funny way of working out the way they should, even though it doesn’t seem like a blessing at the time… I didn’t start to think about this until i went to college, but at that time I honestly almost thanked God that I got hurt and things worked out differently for me.
But first, back to the end of high school. I started to get super into cheerleading. There was an all-star cheerleading team (like AAU for cheerleading) in the Lewiston/Auburn area that I had my sights set on. This gym was an hour and a half from my home but I ended up trying out for the team, made the team, and then competed all over the country on the weekends for a year. It helped me become such a better athlete. The best cheerleaders in the entire state were on my team and overall it was a humbling experience and I learned SO much. It was after joining this team that I gained confidence and realized that I could possibly do this in college. Again, I mentioned in another post here that I only applied for a couple colleges. Since the University of Maine was the only college I got into it (it feels sad admitting that, but I only applied to two colleges) it was there I was going to go. Again, start to notice how things have a funny way of working out… I truthfully think that if I hadn’t been a cheerleader I would have had no interest in going to the University of Maine where I met so many amazing people. Even not getting into my dream college seems like a blessing to me now!
Looking back on college is a whirlwind of emotions. I met some of my best friends and made some of the best memories of my entire life. It was also a time of insecurity and lots of dumb decisions. You convince yourself that boys are perfect for you who clearly aren’t. You convince yourself that analyzing every single text you send and receive from a guy is a healthy part of dating… Spoiler alert: It’s NOT! Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that certain relationships not working out felt really devastating at the time. Except I can’t even really call them relationships… What were they even?! And if it didn’t happen to you, I can guarantee that your friends went through it. I remember relationships not working out for friends and thinking thank God that happened because you can do so much better… Yet when it’s us going through it we don’t see it till sometimes years later! Sometimes a relationship or a date not working out is a HUGE BLESSING. When I look back and think about some of the things I put up with I cringe. It was nothing too crazy or abuse or anything of that nature, however, it was constant mind games that made me feel so low. Next time a relationship or date goes South, remind yourself that when you’re in the right one… you just know! You won’t constantly be analyzing every single text, pretending to ignore their texts so you don’t appear “thirsty,” and acting like a different person. You will know it’s different because you don’t have to think about how you’re acting… you’re just being you! I thank God for past relationships not working out because they brought me to the man I can absolutely say is my best friend and has never made me doubt our relationship from the second we met (honestly).
Even recently, I talked here about struggles with my career. My boyfriend is the main reason I moved to Massachusetts. However, moving to Massachusetts also meant that my teaching certification didn’t transfer. I dealt with highs and lows in my career as a teacher in Massachusetts. Confusion… constantly wondering if this was the career for me. Eventually I decided to get out of my career and move into one in marketing. Probably a move I would have NEVER made if I hadn’t moved to Boston. Isn’t it funny how things really do work out when we look back?
If I had never gotten hurt in gymnastics, I would have never joined cheerleading. If I had never been a cheerleader, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to be on the cheerleading team at the University of Maine. Then, I probably also wouldn’t have gone to the University of Maine. If I hadn’t gone to the University of Maine, I wouldn’t have met so many of my best friends and others that shaped my life for better or worse (looking at you boys.. lol jk 😉 . All of my previous failed relationships lead me to my current boyfriend who I see as my best friend… The main reason I moved to Boston. Moving to Boston was full of self discovery, highs, lows, and struggles. Some of the struggles with my career (I talk about it here) lead me to choose a different career recently. If this feels long winded, what I’m trying to say is be thankful for everything that happens in your life. Sometimes it brings you to unexpected amazing places! (I’m not saying my life is perfect. Of course it isn’t).
So if you’re feeling sad, worried, hopeless, confused… Not to fear my love! Better things are coming and are on the horizon. Better things than you ever thought possible! XO