A year ago I made a pretty big decision. It’s had its negative and positive consequences, as any big decision does. But in the end I’m happy with how it turned out. I was living in a toxic situation, or at least it was toxic for me. My exit undoubtedly hurt a few people, which was never the intention but we can’t be in control of everything in life. As much as we’d like to. For the record I hold no animosity to the situation I just talked about. For me it was a lesson in life that I won’t soon forget not just because of that particular situation that I put myself in, but for what made me run away from what I left. I might write more about this later, who knows. Its a long conversation that I’m still having with myself… thats right, I talk to myself… get over it.
I bring this up because it’s just funny how things work out. In about a week I’m going to be attending the biggest competition of of my life. A decision that I didn’t completely come to on my own. I had the idea to think about going. But it was my friend Joe Haynes who pushed me to make it a reality. He pushed me to apply to go, he pushed me to make a plan to help make it a reality (I’m terrible at planning so I doubt that a plan consisting of “prayers and miracles” is what he meant) and it was he and Heather (Joe’s incredible wife) who have been so generous to me throughout this journey that I’ve been on over the last year. A year ago I left something that made me very unhappy and moved into a situation that was so much better for me because it generated growth, even though that growth was uncomfortable for me. But growth is always uncomfortable on some level.
I started wondering over the last few days how much we could accomplish if we held ourselves to the standards and possibilities that others see that we are capable of. No matter how well I do at whatever venue I’m working in, I always seem to have an inner doubt that something will go wrong. I try to maintain focus on what I’m supposed to do but, as anyone who knows me well will testify, my brain doesn’t “settle” very easily. I knew this a long time ago when I first started working dogs and getting into trialling. So I read a lot of sports psychology books and I practiced what the experienced authors taught me. Some of it worked but sometimes I think that it just takes someone sitting there telling me to pull my head out of my ass to really get through to me! At the end of the day, you can be educated, talented, skilled and practice your ass off and still fall flat. You can be none of the above and win the day. There’s just so many factors that can effect the day that it makes it a little difficult to completely prepare. However, for me, the most important part of doing my best at any competition is making sure that my journey up to the moment of truth is a fun one. I’ve always done my best when I am happy. Sometimes that means home life is great, or maybe its because of great times with friends that make the world seem a little better. But at the end of it all, an easy mind makes for a better journey.
This week, while I was writing this post, I received some news that’s had me pretty shook up. A friend of mine that I’ve known most of my life decided that it was time to end his own journey. I’ve always known him to have a bit of a shadow over his head but I’ve also never known someone so genuinely talented and creative that he would be put among the most gifted people I know. Unfortunately the demons he’s faced caught up to him and the worst has come. His end is approaching as I type this and it breaks my heart. I wish he had had the courage to walk away from the bad situations that he was in. I wish he could have let go of the people who made him miserable, and I wish that when I passed his house two weeks ago that I would have stopped in and said hello and told him that he’s loved. I can’t feel guilty for that because how was I to know? But I still wish it.
This journey to Europe has been something out of a story book for me. So many people have donated to my cause that its crazy and super humbling… thank you to everyone who’s helped get me here. There’s too many to name but I’ll say that I appreciate each and every one of you. No contribution, be it financial or moral support, has gone unnoticed. So far Europe is amazing and I can’t wait to explore a little more before I get into the thick of the competition.
This post has been a bit here and there and I get it but that’s where I am now. I am focused on what I’m here for but I also felt the need to address situations past and present. Because I felt that they had some congruency. I was unhappy a year ago so I changed my situation which led me to be in an incredible place surrounded by friends and supporters. My friend, who is currently lying in a hospital bed and basically gone from this world, decided to suffer through his pain and, as a result, is in his final moments on this Earth. I’m not trying to say I’m better than anyone, especially this friend of mine. I guess what I’m saying is that there’s good out there. If you’re in need then there are resources available to you. If you’re unhappy then change something. If these last few weeks have taught me anything its that life needs to be lived. I won’t say its too short because I don’t think its too short. I think that its only too short if we sit there thinking about what we’d like to do instead of going out and doing it! So… FFS go do it!
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION: If you’d like to donate to my gofundme account you can click this link Shameless self promotion
Thank you to everyone who has helped not only me, but also the US team as well. We all greatly appreciate it!
I’ll be posting more updates on my trip soon!