What if- is a question asked by many and haunts many. I had my fair share of what ifs and I still have a lot. There are those decisions you made and didn't make that make you regret, and one of the biggest regrets I have is a what if.
This is an entry for My Life's Biggest Regret Contest by @jason04.
This is about opportunities and risks -two words that gets tangled a lot. Great opportunities don't come by easy and when you come face to face with one, you should take the leap. I didn't. The decision was to go or stay and I couldn't make the decision, so I let others do it for me which is one of my regrets but the bigger one is that I took myself for granted. And that will always be my biggest regret.
I have spent most of my life practising Karate that it has been embedded in my identity. When other kids were watching television after school and hanging out during weekends, I was in the Dojo (practice area) pushing myself to punch stronger and kick faster. Hanging out with my friends involved blocking a strike and a few bruises here and there. We called it "tough love" (we still do it now because it seems fun for us 😁). Thinking back, my decisions nearly always involved Karate. My first thought in the morning was about the training I'll have to do later in the day and my last thought before going to bed was about how I could've done my techniques better and how to improve it. I was so passionate about it, and I still am although now I have learned to balance things. In my early years, I was so engrossed with training that it became first priority above everything else, sadly, even family. I was so consumed by my passion that it actually became destructive (there actually exists an unhealthy kind of passion, but that's a story for another write-up).
My first regret. Karate is a way of life and I saw myself living its ideals for the rest of my life so when I was offered to be sponsored by my Grandmaster to be trained abroad and to compete in world competitions, I automatically wanted to say yes! I didn't have to think much to come up with a decision. Unfortunately, I was 14 years old at that time. Being a minor, I had to consult my parents and they didn't agree. The deal was that I'll train and study in Guam where my Grandmaster is based and I'll compete in the World Karate-do competition in Okinawa which is really huge by the way, and my Grandmaster is respected by Karate practitioners across the world and he doesn't offer things twice. So I was face to face with a once in a lifetime opportunity and I just stared at it. I keep telling myself that I was young and I couldn't possibly have made the decision that huge by myself.
with my grandmaster
Truth is, I'm a headstrong and independent person, and when I decide on something I commit to see it through so I know in my gut that if I was completely sure about going, I would've fought for it and I would've fought hard. I guess I wasn't ready at that time so I didn't take the leap. I was scared that if I went and failed, I would have to face the consequences of making a bad decision so I stayed.
Biggest regret: I left myself. I stayed to train here and I trained harder than ever -more hours, more repetitions, more rigorous training. I tried to compensate for my decision and pushed my limits too much that I exhausted myself to the point of injury. I feel like I punished myself for not going and I wasn't there for myself when I needed me the most. I paid less attention to my health so my body paid the price. My spine gave up on me.
The news following the injury was heartbreaking. One doctor told me to quit everything. No more Karate, no more sports. I'm not the emotional type but that made me cry. I holed up in the bathroom of the hospital, feeling lost.
I had to withdraw from a competition and the team I was going to represent. I missed the seminar when my Grandmaster went to visit again. I backed out of national tournaments because of my injury. And when I play I have a lot of reservations during games.
I lost a part of who I am and my purpose was aimless. But quitting just isn't my thing so I went to talk to another doctor to clarify what I can and cannot do. Thankfully, I was allowed to continue my athletic life but with caution this time. I learned balance.
I religiously attended my rehab sessions and continued working with my exercises at home. I learned proper body mechanics and was very conscious of my posture. I started from scratch with my training and I had to make a lot of adjustments but I continued. I had to re-evaluate my decisions, my goals and perspective in life. I didn't quit, I stood up to the challenge.
I am proud and happy to say that I am up and running still with a stronger body and a more composed mind. My injury was a hard lesson and it taught me so much in life, although painfully.
I was fourteen years old when I saw one of the biggest opportunities for me, I was seventeen when I lost a part of myself. From these two came my regrets but they were also my biggest lessons.
I got lost, but perhaps I was lost in the right direction. I'm okay with where I am now, because I'm proud of how I got here. But most importantly, I met the best people along way. I met friends who turned into family. The kind of people who sticks with you through thick and thin. And I wouldn't have met them if I didn't take this unexpected path.
What if I went on to train abroad? What if I competed? What if I didn't get injured? Where could I have been now? Who could I have been now?
The what if question did haunt me before but things turned out great and I rest in the thought of knowing that I still have the time and energy to live a good life. I'll run and take leaps to catch up for lost opportunities. I'm not gonna think of what could've or couldn't have happened because I'm where I'm supposed to be and I know greater things lie ahead which I can face head on. I still ask the what if questions, only to make better decisions but I'm not running from it anymore. I'm running towards the opportunities that lie ahead.
My life took a detour so I could completely understand who I am and see a bigger purpose.
I thought I lost a part of myself because of that injury. Ironically, I saw a better part of me, just at a different angle. I have learned to value myself as a whole, to have balance and to use my passion with purpose.
Allow me to re-use the collage and a few words from my introduction because it shows that adversities do not have to slow you down unless you let it.
LIFE IS AN UNPREDICTABLE ADVENTURE. I DARE TO LIVE IT TO THE FULLEST!
...and as challenging as life can be, I dare to live it to the fullest- that is to fulfill this journey, living as much as I can and leaving traces of kindness and happiness along the way.
Hope you had a good read. Now go live that awesome life!
~~Someone who got lost and found her way forward