I hope your inner child got super excited imaging that I was a lucky receiver of a golden ticket from my Willy Wonka chocolate... but sorry to disappoint, no wonka ticket here, despite the 20 blocks my mother bought me because I was persistent to win (I'm not competitive at all guys ...just don't challenge me because.. I WILLLL WINNNN).
When I called my best friend to tell her that I had passed all my ACL return to sport tests and that I had been approved to fly back to Los Angeles she cheered on the other side of the WhatsApp line from London and screamed "Its like you have won a golden ticket !!". We both broke out into laughter and then I continued to tell her how she had literally read my mind because I was drafting this blog at the time and had called it my golden ticket! Freaky right... (I must admit she can read my mind before i have even opened my mouth).
Yes hitting the end of your recovery/rehab session and being able to return to sport can feel like you are charlie opening up that cherished chocolate bar he has waited the whole year for. Well I waited 11 months since that day I slipped in water and ... "I got a golden ticket" ! But let me tell you about my ticket ...
For my golden ticket I am referring to the incredible Book by Brendan Burchard titled "Lifes Golden Ticket". It is an inspiration parable - a tale of personal growth and of a second chance to live as you should have. The question that pulses through this book is - what if you were handed a magical golden ticket that could start your life a new? What would you do differently ?.
I won't spoil too much but the book follows the story of a man who is so trapped in the past that he is blinded to the possibilities, choices and joys around him. Through the book set in an abandoned amusement park he encounters people and situations that confront his beliefs, force him to answer difficult questions, listen to life lessons and through taking a brutally honest look at himself and the life he has created he overcomes tremendous obstacles. In the end he receives a "golden ticket". His pass to a second chance at life through letting go of anger, hurt, worry or resentment that is tied to his old story and to have the strength and courage to start a new. He is given a chance to reclaim the life of purpose, contribution and love that he was destined for. The end of the book holds a surprise for the reader. Again even though I'm itching to tell you because my mum knows best how much I can't keep a secret - I'll let you experience it for yourself.
I read this book when I was in San Francisco on a family Christmas holiday. At the time I was 7 weeks post op, stairs were still a tremendous challenge, my knee was still fat, my jeans too tight (not being able to do cardio and emotional eating plus holiday do not end well) and my mind was fighting daily to remain happy. This book was the first massive turning point for me in my recovery. It was a BAM face palm in the face kind of moment for me. I realized I would have a chance to choose what I make of my life if I chose to work hard for it and I was getting a second chance to re- arrange and priorities the things that actually matter to me. This was my chance to prove to myself what I am made of.
Our lives are paved by the choices we make and also those we don't. The opportunities we didn't take, the risks we did whether they panned out or not, the people we showed our love to and those we should have made more effort for. As a gold member of the Anxiety club I was living my days choosing fear over love...obsessing over decisions to be made, pushing away what my gut was telling me because I would turn to others advice instead, and living through the nightmares of "what ifs" with every ticking second. I didn't live in the present- i dwelled in the past and obsessed over the future. I was creating hell on earth for myself and it took this injury and this pause in time to come across this book, have my world shaken upside down and prove to myself what my purpose here is and what I want to contribute.
Months of hard work, brutally honest confrontations with myself and others, life lessons and epiphanies, pushing my own boundaries, challenging myself with new ideas and experiences has all lead me to my own "end of the book". My physical therapists have handed me my own Golden ticket and now its up to me what to do with it. I get a second chance to drive my own car on that bloody winding road up the mountain of life chasing the detours I take, patching up my own popped tires and heading towards it without a map just simply trusting my gut and making opportunities out of the obstacles and times I get lost.
My time in LA was paused and this hurt my heart so much but in hindsight through the many hours of unemployment spent on the central coast shores of NSW with my acai bowls and talking to myself like a crazy women ( we are all crazy lets be realllllll) I wasn't being the person I wanted to be, or enjoying the journey like I know i should have. I became my own nightmare and was too harsh on myself. I lost sight of what is important to me... but now I get my second chance.
Tomorrow I fly back to the City of Angels with my ticket in hand, with a grateful heart and my dreams shining bright in my eyes. I can't wait to see what this next chapter delivers !!!
If you got a golden ticket today what would you do differently ? Actually don't tell me, go make it happen !
I came across an article shortly before embarking on this solo adventure about the word "awesome" and how it has become an overused description in our vocabulary for days deemed mediocre.
The word was originally intended as a sense of full awe and profoundly reverential. It was used for moments described as "lifechanging"... yet today in 2017 it stands as a word so bland, stripped and bereft of meaning. The movie was awesome - but really it was average. The restaurant was awesome - but the service was slow. Someone is talking as you wonder if you should clip your toe nails and you reply "oh awesome".
I raise my hand, I am totally guilty of this Also. An ex of mine used to tease me, everything for you is "awesome". Sometimes I used it correctly but more than often it was just a sheer reflexive response. It got me thinking , I want to change my ways and dive back to the words original roots.
If your day was "awesome" was it really and truly "awe-some" ... were you caught in a state of awe, wonder and marvel at the nature, beauty and events that magnificently presented themselves in your life that you are lost for words ?! How many moments of silence, sunsets, crunch of twigs on an untrodden path, connections have you missed out on being trapped in a "busy" , "overconsumed", de sensitized day?
I began paying attention to this a while ago and of late on all my travels through Europe. I can say that I have challenged myself and found myself to live in a constant state of awe, with the most simplistic things leaving me bounding like a child first seeing the world. My pals tease me a lot for my little outburst remarks when I'm overwhelmed with joy at what I am experiencing. Some receive a lot of enjoyment from seeing my responses because they wished their hearts weren't so numb to the magic of the world . I would not choose to live any other way, I cannot imagine not being so easily excited, exploding and high on life from a sheer row of giant dandelions in the side of the road or like when I was 5 and mum still says it will forever be the greatest reaction to a Christmas gift . You could give me a wrapped apple and I would cheer like it was a million dollars.
I cried two days ago soaking in the most delicious bowl of linguine, frothing over the champagne that hit my lips and the site of the endless ocean. I couldn't speak watching the sunset with Spanish music in the background as I sat with two new friends from Sweden I had just met, I ran with excitement as I saw the sights of Big Ben for the first time, my heart pounded as I let it sink in that I was riding on the streets of Paris and was lost for breath each time I passed a church, river, or cafe. Riding a double decker bus into Camden markets on the busiest day my mind was exploding like when I first saw Times Square when I was 18, arriving at a live jazz bar in the quiet streets of an out of the way town my ears transported me to another place and time. I'm teary even just reading this back to myself.
I dare you to live your day in awe. Do it !
See the world as a child for a moment, look around and jump with excitement at the things that have always been there . I have no doubt your days will feel more meaningful, limitless and inspiring . I can't wait to land in Budapest shortly and be lost for words as I sit in the gellert baths, camp in Europe and look at my life of travel like holy shit - this is real !!!!!!!
Why is it that when I ask the waiter " Could I have a table for one please" or when I sit and they ask “are we still waiting on someone?” to which I reply "Nope, just me " I automatically sense their energy feeling sorry for me and on the inside I become conscious of the fact that I appear "lonely" to bystanders. Well I am not LONELY, I am merely ALONE and I, like many others actually really enjoy taking myself out for a coffee, or a bite to eat... but why is it that society makes us feel sorry for ourselves and like we are "missing" something. Don't get me started on the awkward moment when you need to run to the bathroom but you aren't finished and don't want the waiter who can't wait to get you done with your meal to take away your last spoonfuls. My go to is an open book right beside my meal and I've researched the utensil placement to say "Mam, Yes i am still going to eat that last piece of chicken and drop of wine so don’t you dare take it away !! " . To answer the question in your head... "Yes I am crazy when it comes to food"!.
I am at a moment in my life where I now say my age and think "shit, 25, what am I doing ?" . No longer can I get away with the cute 21, 23 even push 24 years old feeling like I’m still young and my older friends can just laugh at the way I see the world. I have now entered that next tier of adulthood and life is beginning to feel a lot more serious. Most of my friends are engaged to their lovers, and if not they are shaking that finger in their faces, some have children, a lot own a house and I'm draining my account sourcing lovely outfits to attend all the weddings . Where for time again, I will be "that single friend". Seriously out of the 6 females on the bridal team for my best friend- I am the only one without an arm wrapped around me . All of this makes me lie in my bed awake at night thinking "shit time is running out, SHOULD I be in a relationship?" "is there something wrong with me ?" "I wish my teddy I'm hugging was actually a person"... "Why am I 25, and still single ?!!” (yes it may be the fact I have a teddy, but don't lie - you have one too).
All of this can become too much and if you let yourself listen to your abuela or mother about their long wait for grandkids, or your little dance students saying time is ticking Miss Tash and relishing in the fact they as 9 year olds have boyfriends and you don't, soon you will be swiping to the right on any guy who knows how to take a decent selfie, isn’t your cousin and doesn't confuse you with 8 group photos thinking which one is he ?. All of this in a desperate chase to just “Have’ Someone. Really? To feel loved, assured or a little less lonely in your daily life- girl you can give yourself all that and more.
My favorite question is " How come you are still single?" Oh well let me ask Bob, Tom and Harry what happened and get back to you ... but more realistically its because Im having way too much of a good time loving and living life with myself and have not met the one that shines their light so bright that I must get to know them. Im not that girl that is going to settle for anything less merely to feel secure, comfortable and part of team. I know my worth and my values and I do not need someone to hold me to tell me "I am enough". I am already enough, I've always been enough and I will forever be more than enough”. Nor can I fathom spending hours and my minimal free time on dinners with energy drainers, mischief makers or someone who I can tell my friends is “nice”. I know we have all read those memes on our low days and said "shit yeah, my 20's are for living and doing the crazy things and really living rather than merely existing". It makes us feel better in the moment and often that moment is fleeting as we return to eating ice cream and watching Breakfast at Tiffanys for the 20th time. But they really are !!! This time as a solo wanderer of this earth is limited people, it is precious and offers so many moments of growth, discovery and soul searching that will be missed in the blink of an eye if you are too silly focusing on what you “don’t” have.
Instead of focusing on the questioning, take a long look at the fabulous life you are living standing on your own two feet and relish it whilst you are amongst it. I woke up one day and felt like booking a trip to Europe so I walked down the road to flight centre and did so. I didn't have to ask my boyfriend if he could get work off too, how his savings were, where he wants to go and probably have to wait to book it another time. No, I just did it! I can move across the world because I've dreamt of it my whole god damn life without feeling guilty and giving up on my dream quicker than it came. I can make new friends from any walk of life and disappear on a spontaneous night without having to let someone know or make my decision based on what their plans are. I can make mistakes, wander the globe alone, dive deeper into my own soul and stitch the seams of my own heart. The day that person walks into my life they will not be “saving”, “completing” or “changing” me. They will be making life even brighter, and adding some more magic to what ive already created for myself. I will be able to love that much bigger because I don’t question who I am , what I offer, or my worth.
To all my fellow single soldiers, I hope that you are making the most of this sacred time and that you are waiting for the person instead of rushing head first to save yourself from societies pressure on your shoulders. Even when the time comes that I share life with another- I will still indulge in a table for one regularly. Learning to be by yourself, quiet with the crashing waves of your mind and exploring without your “blanky” can be daunting at first but I learnt the art at 21 when I escaped to Europe alone on an adventure and it changed me so much im doing it all again in two weeks ! I challenge you to take yourself on a date this week- dinner is the scariest so maybe start with brunch. See how it feels and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.