Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Identity Crisis

For the majority of my life I found my identity through playing soccer. When I was asked who I was, what I liked to do, or what I wanted to do, my answer always consisted of something related to the game of soccer. At one point it was wanting to be recruited and play in college but once that came true I felt like my life had began to revolve around the game. It took a couple serious injuries for me to take a step back and realize that soccer wasn't who I was, it just happened to be something I loved to do and was blessed with the ability to play. However, I never really realized how quickly it could be taken from me. Soccer was a game that challenged me to be better and forced me to learn how to fight through so many different obstacles. I learned a lot throughout the years but I truly believe that the most important thing I was taught was that soccer isn't who I am, nor is it who I will ever be.

As you read this post you may be confused as to why I began this post in the way I did. As I continue to write I hope you have a better understanding of my current thought process. Recently, I have found a want/need to run. Running hasn't been something I have been able to do for a few years, and the times I was able to, I was running in pain. I never understood how people were born to run, that question actually still lingers in the back of my mind. The past few years I saw running as a way to train for soccer, but when it came to running for distance, I absolutely hated it. I found it to be boring. My dad was much different then me, he loved to run. He found running to be relaxing and peaceful. He was the type of person that couldn't listen to music as he ran because he felt that it interrupted the peacefulness of the road. Running was his way of releasing emotion and giving his mind a break. I had these talks with him multiple times and each time I attempted to "run at peace", I would of course over think the entire time. Allowing my mind the rest it needs isn't something I am very good at. For me the minute I stepped on the soccer field, nothing else mattered. It wasn't important what had happened throughout my day because at that point there was a task at hand. Unfortunately that game would be taken from me a number of times, and then before I was ready it would end without me realizing what I had lost. It was at this point that soccer was nothing in my life, other than a piece of history.

Lately, I have started the process of searching for a new identity. I realized that after soccer ended, school ended, and the friends I had become so close with moved back home to continue their lives. As I watched my life dramatically change within months, I was incredibly lost. It was at that point that I started making my family more of a priority. I understood the importance of spending time with the people I cared about. I don't know if I was necessarily finding my identity through them but I was definitely in a place of contentment. Once again my world would be shaken to a completely different level.

As the days and months continue, I realize more and more how important my dad was in my life. He was apart of every single thing that took place in my day and the things he wasn't apart of, he made sure he found a way to be. I have had a lot of very tough moments the past few weeks because without him, my life is so incredibly different. It's not a bad thing that my life is continuing to move forward but I haven't been able to accept that it's going to be like that. Not only is it going to be like that right now but it will be like that forever. Knowing that to be the case, I have been trying to find new things that I can do to bring me closer to my dad. This weekend I felt like I had finally noticed a little bit of peace. As I road my bike down the coast, I felt my dad with me. Then, as I ran for the first time outside, like my dad loved to do, I once again felt him with me. Hopefully those are just two ways that I feel closer to my dad, because one of the hardest things in the grief process is finding stuff that allows you to feel close to the one who is gone.

Unfortunately, as time continues I have to remember that I can't find my identity through exercise or other people, because at any point those things could be taken from me. Although my dad is no longer here, I have to push myself to be better, just as he would be doing. He always told me that I would do something great and that I would touch others lives in some way. He forced me to strive to be better and never wanted me to settle. It's been tough to keep pushing forward and I have noticed that the things I feel I am supposed to do, I run away from. I am afraid to take steps forward because he isn't here. I have had a hard time admitting my fear but it's important for me to be honest with what I am feeling. The truth is I am afraid to allow my life to keep moving forward. I don't want to move forward without him. I want him to be here with me and to be apart of all the good that takes place in my life. I think this is a big step for me to work through and I think that I need to make a big step forward. I need to take a risk. I have some options and even if I am not ready to take a big step, there are a few areas of interest that would only help me down the road. I know if my dad was here I would have already taken those steps. He wouldn't be letting me go back and forth like I have been.

I wish I could stop thinking, and I wish I had the strength to continue living the life that seemed so perfect at the time. I had a plan, I had a goal, I saw my future, and then within seconds it was gone, he was gone. What is it going to take for me to continue moving forward? How do I attempt to pick up and continue living the life that he would have wanted for me? Will my life ever be somewhat normal again? I don't want to live a life of contentment. I want to be great at whatever it is that I do. I want to start learning about things that interest me and become a better person. If I want all these things I need to make a move...I am sorry dad, I know this isn't what you want from me.

God Bless,

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