Although I recently wrote about my decision to not coach cheerleading next year, tonight’s end-of-the-year banquet was the final page of a chapter that has been two years in the making. Saying goodbye to my girls, leaving them with a few final “words of wisdom,” and hugging them before we departed was just enough to break my heart.
A few conversations in particular, with both my girls and some of the parents, made me realize how blessed I am to have genuinely connected with some of these young women. All along my hope was that I would help shape them into both talented athletes and respectable individuals. Little did I know, they were the ones who were teaching me.
As I shed tears sharing some final thoughts with my girls earlier, I realized a few things:
– Age does not dictate influence: some of the girls I coached are as young as 14 years old and have seen and experienced things that I know nothing about. Their ability to bring me back to my child-like sense of wonder is something I’ll always be appreciative of.
– Remember to be present: juggling coaching on top of an already-hectic life taught me how to compartmentalize my priorities, set limits, and be flexible. When I was at work, that’s where my focus was. When I was at the gym with my girls, my focus turned to them. I learned how to be intentional with my time, and to spend it on what means the most to me.
– Always do what you love: it’s what led me to this chapter in my life, and it’s what’s guiding me to the next one. I’m proud of my passions, even at the times when i’m singled out because of them. I’ve learned to truly fall in love with my quirks, and having the girls I coached embrace me for them solidified my belief that I should never be ashamed of doing what I enjoy.
– You will always be enough: this lesson was a doozy, but it’s one that sincerely resonated with me even as I attempted to teach it to others. Societal standards of what’s right, wrong, beautiful, ugly, appropriate, uncalled for, smart, stupid, etc., is straight up exhausting, and trying to meet a standard set by the masses is just impossible, not to mention unfair. Accepting who you are as an individual is a life-long process, and often an uphill battle. But that process of acceptance brings you to a place where you will not only look at yourself without judgement, but also look at others that way, too.
Sometimes the lessons you leave a situation with provide you the peace of mind you need to transition into a new chapter. I’m thrilled to see what new opportunities are in store for me down the road, and in the end, I guess it’s not really a goodbye, it’s just an I’ll see you later.