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The goal I never reached for

I spent my whole life worried about what everyone thought of me. I spent countless hours trying to look better and impress others for reasons I didn’t know. There are moments in your life that are truly beautiful because they are yours alone. You earned the right to appreciate what you did to be part of this moment. I often get asked how I did it and “what was the best part?” To me, it might be the day I hit 100 pounds, or the day I knew I conquered my mental illness. It may be the moment I hit the finish line at the marathon, or opened an email from Rugby Canada to join a select group of officials at nationals. But the reaction of others will always be what I’m most proud of.

Lying on my couch and unable to walk after the marathon, I received a message from a complete stranger. He had lost his son to suicide months prior and contemplated it himself ever since. He was grateful that I, despite the attempts on my life and the failure I faced, somehow found my dream and courage to pursue others. A word of encouragement can go a long way — trust me. I know I’m not the reason this person found the light, I’m just glad I wasn’t part of the darkness. This person saw the light in a dark place and I realized the power of an accomplishment.

Sometimes, you’re just too close to the puzzle to see the picture that’s forming. In many ways, I did it for myself because no one was really there for me most of the time, and no one can take away what I did. But when messages like this come my way, and friends suddenly chase the same dream for the sole reason that it was proven possible, I know it wasn’t just for me. Maybe I was meant to run that marathon — but someone was meant to know the reasons I did it.

I can’t thank readers. The only thing I loved more than doing the impossible was knowing it happened for a reason. If you are reading this, you are the reason. I learned so much about myself through my journey of weight loss, and I promise you will too.

It was a long difficult road, but I’m glad it was. If the words of this column saved anyone in the last two years from the life I was forced to, it will be worth every tear I ever cried. Reaching a goal was the best moment of my life, but the follow-up was just as amazing, if not more. Spending weeks and months having people believe in something so powerful because you proved it was possible — that will always be the best part. Though obstacles will always exist, you owe it to yourself and those you inspire to never give up. I told myself over 100 pounds ago I wasn’t going to die like that. I never knew I’d live through what I have.

“It’s not about how hard you can hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward, that’s how winning is done. If you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits and not point fingers saying you ain’t where you want to be because of him, her or anybody, cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that.” —Rocky Balboa

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