Chapter 10: Coming of Age

After working all summer, I approached my junior year more free spirited than the previous.  The weight of not knowing what to expect was removed with my freshman experience and my biggest stressor, credit card debt, was paid in full. However, new challenges would arise, and I would re-experience failure in the classroom. While it wasn’t intentional by any means, the initial shock derailed my plan to major in Business Administration.

After having an injury that required surgery, I also had to come to the decision to give up on my dreams of competing at the Olympic level. The hurdling events in track and field carried me farther than I ever imagined when I started, but my inability to focus solely on sports and lack of resources would be nearly impossible to overcome. Instead, I chose to focus on my studies and earn a degree. I can only imagine that most readers will relate to this story and think about the dreams they once pursued. Many of us have extraordinary dreams, yet mange to settle for an ordinary life for myriad reasons.  Maybe God had bigger plans for me than just galloping over hurdles for a short career. Whatever the case, it’s hard to push back the “what ifs” any time a track meet is on television or the three Olympics that have come and gone since I put my dream aside to accomplish other things. I ultimately accepted the outcome, but I haven’t been satisfied with a career since that moment. Twelve years later, the concept of Urban Light is beginning to restore a sense of fulfillment that hurdling would’ve never attained.  Ultimately, I had to accept that being an Olympian just wasn’t in the cards. Although I never lost my competitive edge, I was okay with settling for less than great while I tried to discover a sense of purpose during my Coming of Age.

During my sophomore year at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), I discovered other potential for leadership qualities I expressed while founding Future Leaders of Equality and Diversity (FLED). The objective of the club was to bring everyone together to address our differences in an appropriate forum. For the first time, I was proud of an accomplishment outside of track and field.

 I also met the love of my life, Emily. Without giving too much away, it’s not your typical love story. We were at very difficult points in our lives, yet somehow knew that we loved one another. I found it difficult to convey what was going through my head, but the story only becomes more difficult to explain during Chapter Eleven: Out of Body Experiment.

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