"If you just gain things easily, they’re not inspiring. Obstacles are gifts. Obstacles are inspirations."
This one is a tough one, but I wouldn’t change anything about it.
This day simultaneously marks one of the highest points and one of lowest points I’ve been in my life. It marks the beginning of a journey I never could have imagined. Reflecting to where I was a year ago today. Man so much has changed.
I looked somewhat unrecognizable as we approached the dock in the early morning hours of Christmas Day, the adrenaline and excitement masking the pain and carrying one of the biggest smiles I’ve ever had, arriving First into Melbourne on-board Mapfre, completing Leg 03, one of the toughest Legs of the Volvo Ocean Race. So incredibly proud of my team, my heart full of respect for what they had just accomplished. Amazing people and incredible athletes. I am honored and humbled to be a part of telling their story.
The excitement and magic of this moment wore off as the momentum that I’d been carrying for months shifted and I had to go home to heal. I was grateful to see my family and be home but not under those circumstances. Many things became unclear after that moment, living every day under a question mark. It was just the nature of the job.
I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason even though it may feel like ages before the pieces of the puzzle come together and it makes sense. The biggest challenge can be finding that first piece. After hitting one of the lowest points I’ve ever been, my family, God and my coach helped me to find that first piece. I created a routine for myself and small, attainable daily goals in alignment with what my coach had taught me. Every place I went to I found a church within walking distance to my hotel. I would go there every day no matter what, even if I could only just sit there for 15 minutes. Getting exercise, experiencing where I was and spiritual meditation. I found gratitude and that became my focus everyday. Integrity and kindness became words to live by and I became sensitive to the energy I was giving off around me as well as the energy I needed to surround myself with to continue picking up the pieces. Everyday started to feel a bit lighter and the unknown less of a worry. I paid attention to and shifted my focus to improving the things I had control over. Focusing on gratitude everyday ultimately shaped my whole perspective and made me realize the true blessings of this year.
My obstacles became gifts, strengthening my spiritual relationship with God, showing me where I need to go within myself and when to ask for help so that I never reach a point that low again. It opened my heart and taught me forgiveness in a way I haven’t known before. My obstacles gave me the foundation to deal with more challenging times to come and the inspiration, desire and strength to be the best daughter, sister, auntie, friend, future wife and mother that I can be. It showed me that the most precious gift of this past year are the relationships forged and the people I shared this incredible experience with, the family I gained and friendships that will last a lifetime. I learned that there can be strength and bravery in vulnerability. I gained a greater appreciation for the people in my life who care about me, that push me especially my mentors, my coaches and my family.
I always knew this year would test me physically but never could have imagined the ways it tested me mentally, especially after the accident. A scar I wear proudly and nerve damage are the only physical consequences (my face can now tell the weather!) and it reminds me daily how incredibly blessed I am to be on this journey, to be mentally, physically and spiritually healthy AND to be alive.