This is an excerpt of something else I just wrote that I felt like sharing.
My goals as an athlete linger, but I am no longer capable of pursuing them fully. A new set of priorities and responsibilities are steering the vehicle that is my life, and pole vault has been placed in the back seat. It will always be there, making chatter and occasionally kicking the back of the front seat, but it will never again be the primary driver.
As a high level athlete you are forced to design a perpetual state of consciousness that is entirely focused on your event, training, and psychological health. In this state, material things, media, financial survival, and even family and friendships are pushed into the back seat, always there but quietly competing for second place. It takes an immense amount of time and effort to shape this persona. It’s almost as if you are creating a character for a movie, and you are stepping into it, without any after thought of someday needing to step back out. You don’t look further ahead than your athletic goals, you can’t, because if you do, it can invite or represent the option of failure, and failure does not fit into the formula, thoughts that propose any minuet level of probability of manifesting stress must be eliminated. In your minds eye, there is no such thing as life after your athletic career.
For more than a decade many of us stand inside of that character, working tirelessly everyday to reinforce its walls, making them impenetrable. Then, like a flash of lightning, that other life shows up.........