It has been a week since my cheerleading season has officially ended. No more practices, games, or competitions. A 14 year long run has come to an end, and it is all starting to settle in and hit me for the first time. Cheerleading has been the most consistent part of my life since I was eight years old, and living without it seemed like the biggest adjustment I would ever have to make, or so I thought.
My actions had to change. I could no longer grab my sneakers, run out the door and head to the gym for practice. I could no longer sit on the sidelines and root on my teams. I could no longer step onto the competition floor in front of a panel of judges and pour my heart and soul into a routine that I have worked to perfect for months on end. Those things had to change. I was forced to change my actions and my entire lifestyle even though it pulled at my every heart string and was the very last thing in the world that I wanted. But so very often, if we try to fight against something so that it becomes what we want it to be, it ends up backfiring. We cannot force things to be a certain way just to provide us with what we lack. We have to accept what is in front of us and appreciate our circumstances for what they are, nothing more, nothing less.
I think it will take years to fully adjust to a life without cheerleading. The hardest part is trying to understand what role it will ultimately play in my life. Has it been with me to teach me a lesson? To bring me friendship? To instill a confidence in myself? To provide me with an indescribable love that will remain with me forever, yet still get ripped out of my life just because of timing and circumstance? Or maybe just to have provided me with the comfort of stability that so often lacked everywhere else in my life. Maybe it’s all of those reasons, I’d like to think that it is.
Being the optimist that I am, I believe that the true loves of your life never really leave you. You take them everywhere you go – whether it’s through conversation, flashbacks, photographs, songs, books, or any other outlet that allows you to embrace and remember the true passions in your life. I’ve found that you typically don’t realize the logic of why things are brought into your life until they have left. Life is both deceptive and beautiful in that way, hiding from us the things that we so strongly wish we understood. The one thing about life that is certain, however, is that nothing is permanent unless you allow it to be. People, passions, and places may all change and take a different form, but if you love and believe in them enough, they can stay with you. You can carry your love wherever you go, you just have to be willing to go along for the unpredictable and emotional ride that it will inevitably take you on.