If you follow me on Instagram, you might have already responded to my question.
First I want to say, if you’re feeling a bit lost or uncertain about your life, you are not alone! The pandemic has put the majority of the world in an uncertain situation. Even years later, we are changed people, still trying to find our way through divorce, career changes, retirement, physical injury, and the general discomfort and uncertainty of an ever-changing world.
Maybe you aren’t as motivated as you once were?
Or feel pressured to continue working towards an undefined goal?
Perhaps you’re dealing with a life-altering injury or illness?
Or maybe your life simply looks different from what you planned?
You are not alone.
I want to talk about transitions because I think it’s important to remember that we’re not alone. To be human is to face uncertainty. There’s nothing more human than adversity.
I’ve been through many transitions in my life. From losing my legs at 19, having a kidney transplant at 21, and eventually becoming a professional athlete. I suddenly found “fame” when I appeared on Dancing With The Stars. Then, my life changed again, unexpectedly when I sustained a major vascular injury and eventually retired from competitive snowboarding.
Snowboarding has been part of my life since I was in high school and even with all my own experience with life transitions, learning to walk again for the third time reminded me just how challenging it can be.
This transition isn’t a bad thing. I’m learning to walk again! And that’s amazing! I’m suddenly walking for the first time in 3 years. How could I ever complain?
Yet this transition has brought up several emotions.
Now that I’m retired from snowboarding, I have more free time than I’ve ever had. While I feel gratitude for this time, I also feel a bit disoriented and unsure of how I want to spend my free time.
I’ve built a career that allows me to work as much or as little as I choose to. It’s one of the greatest blessings brought about by a life that I spent so much time building. The building of that life is time spent that I miss spending. I’m simply not ready to have so much free, uncertain time, on my hands. Like many of you, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do next.
Through all of these life transitions, I’ve collected a few tips along the way. We don’t need to fix the way we feel when our lives change, we just need help navigating those changes. I want to help you navigate the changes in your life with a simple challenge.
When I first lost my legs, I remember laying in bed realizing I could never go back to who I once was. This is a harsh reality because honestly, none of us can. I felt confused, scared, and unsure of what the future would bring or what my life would be like. This is when I began to visualize.
It started with a daydream of what I wanted to do with my life, the big things that seemed impossible, like snowboarding again. That daydream turned into a complete vision because I allowed myself to get excited about it, even though I had no idea “how” I would achieve it.
During this daydream, the feeling of my heart beating in my chest was all I needed to confirm my vision was possible. It became a goal that moved me through my greatest transition from losing my legs to becoming a professional athlete. Who would have thought that losing my legs, would open up a world of possibilities? Competing in the Paralympics began with a daydream that simply made me feel excited about the future.
Forget about the ‘how’. Simply take a moment to eliminate distractions and allow yourself to get lost in your dreams.
The dream that makes you light up and feel excited is the dream that you should follow.
Have grace with yourself, allow yourself to daydream, and feel excited about the unknown future. Make a plan to do the thing that lights you up the most.