Today marks the day that I was supposed to be competing in the semi-finals of the cheerleading world championships. If everything had gone to plan thus far, last week we would have had the opportunity to train with the California Allstars, one of the most successful cheerleading gyms in the world, over in Camarillo, California. We would have flown to Orlando the day after, eaten copious amounts of breadsticks and four cheese pasta dishes at the Olive Garden, and trained almost daily. Right now I would stink of Bondi Sands tanning mouse and I'd probably be teasing the life out of my hair, getting ready to potentially put one of the best level 5 routines in the world on the competition floor.

But I'm not doing that. Instead, I’m sitting here in my onesie alone in my room, feeling devastated. 

As the entire world is already aware of, a dangerous respiratory virus known as Covid-19 (or Coronavirus) has rapidly spread across 210 countries and territories around the world, subsequently causing a catastrophic worldwide pandemic that has temporarily ceased any outdoor activities, social interaction, international travel, and in my case, competitive sports. In Australia, weddings have been called off, funerals are limited to 5 people, and hospitals are struggling to keep up with the constant influx of sick patients. I am not naive or ignorant enough to believe that the cancellation of my competition is anywhere near as devastating as the other issues that have arisen due to the development of the Coronavirus, but I won't pretend that I'm happy to see everything that my team and I had worked towards not come to fruition. It's hard when things don't go as planned. It just is.

And honestly, I have a history of breaking down when things don’t go to plan. Last year, my teammates and I were sitting in 3rd place at the 2019 world championship grand finals, and in the time it takes to hiccup, a small error was made and it not only knocked us out of the running to take home bronze, but it also took away our opportunity of making history as the first all-female Australian team to place top three at the world championships. One second, that's all it took. Things didn't go to plan. And to be honest, they rarely do.

That was the biggest lesson I took away from that year. 

Was it an easy lesson to learn? Absolutely not. The loss resulted in a full-fledged breakdown, and I was coerced by my mother to talk to a counsellor to help me find healthy coping mechanisms. I was a mess for a long time, but admittedly, talking to a professional did eventually help because she taught me how to deal with life's inevitable disappointments, and how to adjust to plan B.

Here are a few lessons I've learnt over time,

1. It is okay to grieve the loss of what you thought was to be
You're allowed to be disappointed. You're allowed to cry and stomp your feet a little. God knows I did, and you can too. You're only human.

2. Accept what you can and can't control
This one is super important, because even when things happen that are out of my control, I take the weight of it on my shoulders and behave as though it reflects on me. But truthfully, there are forces outside of myself that influence and shape outcomes. I can't waste time dwelling on things that I have no control over. All I can do is focus on my own behaviours and actions.

3. Assess other options, and get planning
The beautiful thing about life is that you have options. There is always an alternative way of achieving something, and there is always a pathway to get there. Whilst it would have been great for things to work out the first time, it doesn't mean that it's necessarily your best or only option. There is always more than one solution to a problem, so when shit hits the fan, assess other options and get planning. 

4. Remind yourself that you eventually end up where you need to be
I am a firm believer in this and I think about it a lot. The friendships, experiences and skills I have accumulated and developed since the 2019 world championships are invaluable and will stay with me forever. The gains far outweighed any losses I sustained, and truthfully, I don't regret my 2019 worlds experience because, despite all of the bullshit that followed, I wouldn't be where I am today.

Like I said earlier, very rarely do things actually go to plan. You fail, your anxiety gets the better of you, you make mistakes, or perhaps there's a worldwide pandemic. Whatever the reason is, learn to cope with it and build from it. It's not to be ignored, it's there to remind you that you are alive, you are only human, and this is life. If things go wrong, try try try again.

        - Loz

No comments: