I had my “awakening” in 2014. I had a lot of free time — being unemployed & having no money, so the free time led to a lot of self-reflection, and realizing what makes you truly happy.
I am a different person than I was four years ago. I’m reminded of this whenever I check social media, and I am shown what I posted 5 or 10 years ago, and my life revolved around sports.
I am a happier person than I was four years ago. In February 2014, I had been unemployed for 4 months. For the past seven years before this, I worked in 3 jobs where it was just a job, and I wasn’t valued, or I wasn’t doing what I loved. I looked forward to sports, when it brought me joy. Other times, it wasn’t so much fun, and I’m not talking about winning and losing. I had a hard time reconciling being a sports fan and being an advocate for children, and seeing athletics used as a scapegoat or avenue for abuse against minors. There are many other instances I can name, but that is the one I think of most often.
So I made a concerted effort to surround myself with things and people that had a more positive effect on my life. I looked for a job outside of healthcare, and started working at Georgia Tech on June 9, 2014, just a few days over four years ago. I knew which people in my life were toxic for me, and I knew I needed to spend less time with them. I started spending more time outdoors. I held on to my season tickets for football, basketball, baseball and gymnastics, but my enthusiasm for attending was waning. I was tired of scheduling my weekends and other activities around sports. I wanted to see more of the country and the world.
Then in October and November 2015, a catalyst came along. Mom had a hysterectomy and diagnosis of Stage 3B cancer of the endometrial tissue. She started chemo in January, and I was with her for each treatment. I saw more of my extended family from December 2015 until the next fall than I had the past ten years combined. In February 2016, my brother and sister-in-law announced they were expecting a baby in late August. There goes football season! So I sold my tickets that year to a friend. 2017 started off much better. My brother and sister-in-law announced we had another baby coming to the family in October. Good thing I decided not to get football tickets again. Mom got clear scans, and we attended a couple of weddings for my first cousins. Then October 2017 hit, and we lost Kavya. Needless to say, it rocked our family.
I look back now, and if I had not made the conscious decision to remove sports from the center of my life, it would have been much harder to make it through 2016 and 2017. I have a job that I both enjoy, and where I am valued. I spend as much time as I can outdoors. I’ve lost almost 40 pounds. Thanks to Sarat & Ruby, we have this adorable little boy to bring light into our lives whenever it seems like we are getting hit the hardest. I have traveled to so many wonderful places, met amazing people, and my life is more enriched in these past four years since I decided to embrace the good in life.