At the ripe old age of 23 I’ve come to realise many things and one of those is nothing that happens in this grand ol’ life of ours is by accident. People talk about fate or destiny dictating our path when in reality it is our decisions, choices and actions that pave our roads. All the twists, turns, ups and downs shape you but they are driven by your inner purpose.
For me this thought was solidified by the humble act of delving into the past. I am somewhat of a hoarder of memorabilia such as old school work, cards, gifts, medals, trophies and the like. I am far too nostalgic to throw anything out, just in case I want to show my grandchildren one day. On an OCD fuelled room clean this summer I decided it was probably time to get rid of some old ‘stuff’. Instead of cleaning I spent most of the time reflecting on the past and all the fabulous memories I have. I cried over cards from major milestones which spoke of pride, words of wisdom and love. I laughed at old school work. What I found most intriguing through all the clutter was that even though back then I felt lost in the world, I was forging my own path and my mojo was clearly starting to develop. I had an essence of who I am today but in a mind still influenced by the outside, and more often than not filled with self doubt. It’s moments like these that it is great to look back and see how far you have come. As much as I am a completely different person to who I was five years ago (in the best kind of ways) I saw an insight into the potential to who I could become once I was happy being me.
I often get asked how I ended up where I am today, either in my sport or my career choice. In the past I would say “I picked dietetics on a whim, I was dead set on being a journalist until our university choices we due”. At the time I loved English and writing so this thought wasn’t completely untrue, but some part of me knew my deep down love for helping others, living a healthy and active life, and my drive to change the world around me for the better. As I searched through the piles of old English essays and health assignments I stumbled across my year 12 planner. This school issued, senior planner was awesome! It had great tips for organisation, stress reduction and inspiration. I wish I had appreciated these components of the planner, but I was too interested in adding my own flare. I found scrawled throughout the pages inspirational quotes, cliche words and well thought out structure to my school work (each subject in a different colour of course). I still love a well written, inspirational quote today so much so I have one of those quotes tattooed. The most affirming aspect that I had carved my own path were scribbled plans for some of my major assignments for the year. These themes were women and girls playing sport, and most importantly why they stop, nutrition for young athletes, which involved talking to a sports dietitian, and an argumentative piece on why women should be allowed to play AFL. I sat quietly reading these notes having completely forgotten about these assignments yet these passions were now my reality. These interests and wide reaching dreams had come to fruition and despite what I initially thought, it wasn’t by accident .
Looking back to our younger selves can be a rewarding experience. When I was growing up I like many others I changed what I wanted to do every week, and I felt I was one of those people who never had a clear vision or goal of what I was destined to achieve. By reflecting on the past and the road I have travelled, regardless of how long or windy it has been, I am able to see the passions of my younger self shine through. Deep down we all have our purpose, our driver for how we want to live our lives. It will be different for each of us. We overcome obstacles to learn more about ourselves, we change as we grow but deep down we have passions that dictate these choices or decisions that create our life path. I was able to find my purpose when I stopped trying to be anything other than me. I focused on what was important to me (not what others wanted), I believed in who I was and my abilities and I worked my bloody ass of to achieve what I have today. I know there will be times where again I will feel lost and unsure of where I need to be heading but if I stay true to my purpose I will find my way.
Every challenge, decision and bump along this journey has helped shape who I am today and by reflecting I know I am not here by chance. If you are lost in the world at this moment think about what makes YOU happy, what YOU value in YOUR life and maybe what brought joy to your younger self. Use these points to create purpose and find a career or past time that supports this. This life is not what my younger self envisioned, it is more than I could have ever imagined it to be.
Peace, Love and Food xx