When I was 15 I couldn't wait to be 21. I partied like a rockstar back then...YES I ACTUALLY PARTIED, ha.
I refer to it as my rebellious teenage times, we're all supposed to have those right? That's where my tennis started to plummet- go figure. I was spending too much time trying to be cool by staying up late, driving my mom's minvan (we called it the mommy-mobile) without a license from Saddlebrook, in Wesley Chapel, FL, to Tampa's night club area called Ybor. 15, with a fake ID, and hitting up the night life- what a stud huh?
That lasted about 2 years, during which time I gained weight by eating the absolute worst you possibly can, enjoying a few drinks, and skipping tennis practice.
In case you're wondering what drives me now, in my 20s, what's supposed to be the prime of your life, to be so disciplined in triathlon to the point that in all of my college years I've had tops a couple of glasses of wine spread out over monthly intervals, have not been to a single night club, or any party for that matter, and in fact gone to bed no later than 10pm ever....it's my incredible regret that I didn't appreciate the enormous sacrifice my parents made in moving with me to Florida and paying insane amounts of money, all for me to make it to the top level in tennis.
I had the talent, after all I was #1 in TX in my age. Perhaps I wouldn't have won Wimbledon, but I know that with the dedication to nutrition and fitness that I have now for triathlon, I would have achieved top pro ranks.
It's a sad fact, but we all make mistakes. Except mine was at the cost of my family's finances, and my health and untapped potential.
Sure there were some great times and experiences at Saddlebrook, my brother (8ish at the time) enjoyed the lakes and golf course...he was like Mogli (from Jungle Book) always running around barefoot, fishing, hitting golf balls, or kicking butt at the motor cross race track on the weekends (until he broke his arm and my mom decided it was time for a new sport hehe). I got to meet people from all over the world, and in a way some would say I "lived life".
Then it all changed. After the year in which I established some incredible friendships from my friends who were boarding at Saddlebrook from Latin America, they were going back home for good, and I became pretty depressed. I realized nothing in life is forever. They were leaving and I was stuck fat, out of shape, my family struggling to pay another year at the Academy, my tennis in pathetic form, and my schooling (due to the fact that we attended about 2-3 hrs of school/day) at an all time low.
That's when my mom and I had a serious talk and we made the move BACK to San Antonio. I returned to my old high school, Alamo Heights, that is nationally recognized as one of the top public schools. It was time to get my academics back together, and get into a good college because tennis was definitely not going to get me a scholarship anymore, and I was actually tired of it.
That whole summer I cut alcohol out of my life for good. I promised never to even go near a cigarette again (not like I smoked but I did one or two socially). I got my butt in the gym every morning and changed my diet 110%.
It's amazing, but when you eat healthy and MOVE you feel incredible, look good, and have a revived positive outlook on life. WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT?! In all seriousness though, in a matter of weeks I was feeling alive, I woke up at 6am without an alarm clock, I was in a better mood...it all made me realize that when we are stuck in an unhealthy routine, we don't know what we're missing. How incredible true wellness really is!!
That's why when friends tell me "you need to go out, party, live life", (I sound middle aged saying this haha) I know that I've been there done that. I feel lucky that I realized this so young and not in my 30s. As a triathlete now wanting to compete at the pro level, I cannot put into words how I look up to the people that have been steady disciplined athletes without faltering their whole life. When we're young we feel invincible but it is these years that set our bodies up to handle our older times.
Enough of my philosophical musings though...today I celebrate my 21st birthday with nothing but excitement and optimism for what my future holds. I'll be graduating and moving onto a new chapter of my life in another state with goals I never would have imagined only a few years ago.
I got a swim in this morning and am headed in a little while to Sushi Axiom with a group of friends, mostly triathletes :), in Ft. Worth. I've been on a sushi binge since Arizona because experience has taught me not to eat any raw seafood during the season :)
Other than that, it's a continuous grind with finals still going on for another week!