I have also traveled the world. This, in and of itself, is an added benefit far beyond the dollars that show up on my tax forms at years end. Most years I spend about 3 months in a different country every couple of days. Sure, most of the time is not spent in tourist fashion but how many stamps would my passport have without it? Mexico, perhaps. And maybe a Caribbean island or two. I needed additional pages added to my passport after just a few years in this sport. There is definitely an appreciation for the opportunities that I have been given and I know that being an athlete has opened doors I never would have thought to knock at.
All of this to say that right now I feel very conflicted about just where I am at with my love affair. It is no secret that I have come to a crossroads in regards to my career. And I have been trying to let my thoughts and feelings about everything come about in an honest way and not be rash in my decision-making or get too caught up in the emotions of the present without considering how I will really feel later on in life. But the harsh reality I am facing right now, is that however much I still on some level truly love being able to do this and might miss it after this hole in my heart has had time to heal a bit, is that sometimes love just aint enough.
When you do something because you love it and also because it’s your job, you have the best of both worlds. But if you just love it but you don’t make money doing it, then all you have is a glorified hobby. And hobbies don’t pay bills. And treating this sport as a hobby will never get you to where you want to be. I’ve been over in Europe for a little over a week now and I really am trying to enjoy it for what it’s worth. I’m not competing that well but I knew that it was a gamble to think I’d be truly able to run 100 meters efficiently anyway. So I’ve tried not to let it bother me and just enjoy the time for what it is. But I’ll be back in a couple of weeks and I’ll have to deal with the facts. Running slow doesn’t make you any money and not having money isn’t really an option. Imagine if you went to work for months and months and did your absolute best and got no paycheck at the end of it all. It would be difficult to justify staying at that particular establishment, even if you wanted to.
On some level this decision is about what I want to do, but in practical terms it is also simply about what I can do. You might get away with living off of top ramen when you’re 19, but when you’re 29 it’s not so glamorous anymore. So while I sit here and give thought to what it is I really want, I also am facing actual circumstances that weigh heavily on the decision making process. I don’t really know if I’m completely ready to fall out of love with this life or to feel in my heart that I am 100% ready to walk away with no regrets, but sometimes you are at the receiving end of a heartbreak and there just isn’t much you can do about it except to accept it. For right now I am just going to do my best to enjoy my time in Europe and if that means jogging a sub-par 100 meters every couple of days so that I can be afforded that luxury, then so be it.