I am the happiest in my life right. now. Growing up I dealt with a lot of anxiety and I still battle with it frequently. In the last 10 years I have also battled bouts of depression that were almost debilitating because I could not get my mind of what happened in my past and what could have happened if I did or did not do this or that. I was wishing for things that were not realistic and this was taking away from my quality of life and overall happiness. After high school and through the several years following, I would wish that things had been different like going back to the school where I went to elementary school, being in a sorority, or other little things that don’t really matter now because I ended up exactly where I want to be in my life right now. I would tell my younger self that everyone is on their own path, will find their way, and the way is different for everyone, but that the end will be in sight when the time is appropriate.
All of the valuable turning points in my life that led me where I am are special and my current self would not change a thing. I would not have met two inspiring teachers my freshman year of high school who would become my mentors through my four years there. If I went back to my old school after 8th grade where my sisters were we never would have met. If I had not had my two major surgeries I may have been more active and I would not have experienced a weight loss and fitness journey. If I had a large friend group, enjoyed drinking, and went to high school parties, I would have gone on spring break trips with my friends and would have never discovered the health and wellness spa that I would return to every year for years to come and that changed my life forever. I wouldn’t be sharing with you right now because this place is where I met the person who has inspired my life and has made me the happiest person I can be where I am right now. Every experience is valuable in some way even if the experience does not evoke happy emotions. A surgery, changing schools, or any other experience that causes vulnerability or makes us unsettled may be a blessing that we don’t realize until the future.
“Learning never ends and the journey is different for everyone. My journey had some detours and unexpected setbacks but I am still getting where I want to be–on my time”
Back to my journey of finding my passion and joy for health and fitness. While most of my peers finished college in the typical four years, my journey was a little longer and I am still on this journey. Do we really ever stop learning though? At first, I felt embarrassed and self-conscious that I hadn’t graduated at the same time as other people my age but what I realize now is that I am doing what is right for me. Not something that someone else thinks is right. Learning never ends and the journey is different for everyone. My journey had some detours and unexpected setbacks but I am still getting where I want to be–on my time.
During my first two years of college, I was a Secondary Education major. My goal was to teach English at my high school because I wanted so bad to be back there. Leaving high school was hard for me because it meant leaving a place that I finally grew comfortable in and leaving a few of the teachers who became mentors and who drove and still continue to drive my success. For my spring break freshman year, I asked my mom if we could go to Florida. We had been going to Naples for several years and I wanted to go back. My mom told me that she heard about a great spa in Arizona that she wanted to go to and that I would love because I always enjoy doing something. My mom reminded me that I always get really bored laying on the beach for hours on end. I decided that this spa trip could be fun so my mom, grandma, and I went on this trip. Little did I know that this trip would change my life. I learned to enjoy exercise and learned how to eat better. I have been going back every year for the last 11 years and the place captures my heart even more with every visit. After my second year in college, I began to question if I was meant to do something else since I wasn’t sure if I liked education. This was also the time that I injured my back working out so I took a year off of school to reconsider what I wanted to do. I was discussing my concerns with my mom when she mentioned that a friend completed her degree in Dietetics. I had never heard of dietetics but I immediately started reading everything about it that I could and I was sold! A major where I could learn about food and classes where I could cook?! This was exciting. This major was nothing short of challenging. I didn’t take chemistry in high school so the numerous science classes like organic chemistry, microbiology, and biochemistry were like studying a foreign language. I loved the field of health so much that I did everything I could to get through these courses. I got help from tutors and did the best I could. While I got B’s or C’s in all of these classes, I was proud of myself for sticking with it and not letting the challenge defeat me. After graduating with my degree in Dietetics, I did not pursue the Registered Dietitian credential but I knew that I wanted to continue learning about sports nutrition. Two years later, I stumbled upon a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Human Performance at a local university. I loved all of the classes I could take and was excited that I could specialize in sports and fitness nutrition. In January of 2016, I took the leap and started my Master’s degree. The past two and some years later I am humbled by where I am in my life and look forward to what exciting things are ahead.