Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Living Life With Passion On And Off The Court

I'm pretty confident that I'm not the only one out there who thinks like this...

As adults we think that best times of our lives are in our lives were when we were kids. When we were young we had fun everyday. We would play, we weren't stressed out about stuff like bills or our kids. When we were young the future was also bright and full of possibilities. We could do anything in the world we wanted when we grew up. Now as someone approaching middle age I can't help but wake up in the morning and realize that THIS is my life. This is what I have become and who I will be until the day I die. Which for the record I hope is not for a few more good decades.

Now as a fairly responsible adult who goes to work, pays his bills on time and doesn't go out partying with his friends on the weekends, this is my life and my contribution as part of a responsible adult society. When we were young, at least when I was, I always assumed a path wouldn't naturally open up and I would eventually figure out what it was I was going to do for a living. For much of my childhood I was sure it would be a professional squash player, but that wasn't very plausible or reasonable. Although when I was young I didn't care that it wasn't reasonable and that I wouldn't make lots of money. I absolutely loved squash and was very dedicated towards my dream for a number of years. 

So what's changed now as an adult? I didn't become a pro squash player so my childhood dream didn't quite pan out like I thought they would. I've been pretty happy with my coaching career up to now and I feel like I've made a difference in peoples lives, especially kids. This is kind of just something that felt like a natural progression for me to follow. At university I was a player-captian and it just made sense that I still loved the game and it was my time to give back to the sport I've loved most of my life. 

For the past 7 years I've been coaching and there have been parts I've enjoyed and others I haven't. What I find interesting and what this post is really all about is that over this period of time I've spent a lot of time reflecting about my past and what I could have been. I see or hear of some person who is fulfilling his dream and I wish that was me. I could have been a pro squash player if I didn't quit when I was a kid. I should have asked out a certain girl from school. I think about the job I shouldn't have taken or girl I shouldn't have dated. I think these types of things are all very normal things to reflect on. But what I realized recently is that I spent so much of my time thinking about the past that I was acting like the best part of my life was behind me and that my opportunity to have the type of future I always dreamed about was long gone. 

People who are not happy with their job or relationship feel like they are stuck and that they can't do anything about it. It was refreshing hearing a story about George Mumford in his book The Mindful Athlete say that he was miserable in an accounting job, but none of his co-workers would leave because they were dependant on the money they were now making. George decided to leave with no idea about what he was going to do next. I can't imagine any adult doing something so drastic without a plan in mind. It's irrational and something only a child would do, no? Well he made a whole new life for himself and it sounds like he is quite happy with his life changing decision. He was so brave take that first step and it completely changed his life. 

So why as adults do we feel like it's too late to do something worthwhile, something more or something better? How do we get out of being so comfortable with our day to day to live how we want to live and do things that get our creative juices flowing? 

As destructive as it is in squash to be thinking of the previous rally in the current one it can be just as deadly in other areas of our lives. This doesn't mean you have to change everything about who you are or what you do, but maybe you just have to take a look at your life and see what if there is something you've always wanted to do and have given up on it. Do you continue to procrastinate about something because you're comfortable with your current life and have trouble changing your mindset and finding the motivation to start? 

For me personally I just started to realize that I took work too serious sometimes and it became work, when it should have been more enjoyable because I love squash and I love working with kids. So for me it wasn't even changing anything in particular it was just my mindset. I also decided to finally get my knee surgery which will hopefully allow me to play squash again at a competitive level and perhaps I can compete in some competitions one day soon. A few months ago I also started filming skill challenges just for fun. I stopped thinking about what I hadn't done and started doing things I wanted to do. 

I had no reason behind doing any of these things other than I just enjoyed inventing new skills and trying to see what I could do. Spending time doing things like these challenges or writing this blog is way I take control of my life now while I also create am exciting future with endless possibilities. I also recently designed some Serious Squash merchandise just for the heck of it. Why invest with a bank when I can invest in myself! Where will this all lead? I don't really know, but I'm doing things that I enjoy and creating my own unique path for my life. I'm living and enjoying each day because of what I get to do and rarely do I catch myself drifting off to my childhood and wondering what could have been because I am making things happen that are way cooler than I could have ever dreamed of. 

I feel like once things begin to happen and fall in place I was happier and more confident in what I'm doing with my life. Recently a squash company reached out to me and has expressed interest to sponsor me (including some cash, yes a retainer!) to produce my skill challenges for them. I don't know where this will lead, but I enjoy the possibilities and the creativeness behind my unique path. I followed my passion and doors began to open. 

I still enjoy writing these blog posts when I have time and a topic that fascinates me. I've always wanted to design some clothing so I'm excited about this as well. I'm not doing any of these things for the money and I think that's a big reason that they motivate me. If I simply followed my coaching to where I could cash the biggest pay cheque I know that I would never be happy. It's crazy how money can corrupt people and control their lives and trying my best to not let that happen to me. Good thing I don't have expensive taste :)

I'm not saying I have it all figured out and I hope I don't sound like I'm bragging. I'm only writing this post in the hopes that it may inspire someone else like George Mumford did to me. It's never too late to have a dream if we just start doing things we want to do instead of only the things we have to do. If you've always wanted to write a book, or run a marathon, volunteer or become a professional squash skill challenger why not do it now? Maybe just write 1 page for your book with no other expectations. Just because other people may think it's irrational and not support you if you do what you love, I believe that your passion will shine through and people will be attracted to that. Most importantly is that you too will feel more fulfilled and find some joy with the path you've created for yourself.

I hate when adults try to make kids grow up too fast. I feel like most adults like to see kids maturing and becoming responsible young versions of themselves, but what happens when the kids in them is completely gone and they don't find any joy in their life anymore? It reminds me a bit of how adults try and tell kids how to play squash; that they must play high percentage shots, taking away all the creativity and passion for the game. This is what we are all susceptible to and even more so as we get older.

Even though I was training in the hopes to playing professional squash for many years it was because of this that I learned that I could do anything I put my mind to. I simply needed to find something that I was as passionate about again before I could put the same time commitment and love into as I had once my squash. To me squash training wasn't work it was how I wanted to spend my time just like when I write a post or film a new skill challenge. Nobody was forcing me to go to squash or train. It's a shame when adults live years of their lives and don't do anything with passion influencing their life. It doesn't always have to be something big to be significant. 

I've always kept squash close to my heart and it has brought me to where I am today. I'm creating my own path and doing what I believe is best for me, not what others believe is best for me. I'm sure many coaches think that what I'm doing with the skill challenges is immature or a waste of time, but I could care less. Some of the stuff I'm doing will work out others may not, but I'd never know if I only sat by and never tried any of it. I sat by long enough and now I'm making things happen for myself. There's no time like now for you to do the same. 

I'd like to finish off with a quote I recently read on Twitter which really hit home for me. 'The best gift you can give to someone is believing in their success..' This is true for yourself too! Don't stop dreaming or acting like a kid sometimes. It's never too late to make a change and do what you want or become what you want to be. The only thing stopping most of us is our brain. If you've always wanted to travel to or even move to Australia, get a new job, become a musician, no matter what it is you can do any of it if you really want to. 

Go ahead, come up with a ridiculously awesome goal that you would love to happen? Think about it for awhile. What's the first step you could take towards achieving it? Because remember if you want it bad enough you CAN do it. You just need 1 person to believe in you, and that person has to be you! When YOU start believing in yourself life becomes exciting and the future is full of possibilities. You won't need to live vicariously through your kids anymore if you make time for doing something for yourself or with your kids. If you are lucky to enough to know what I mean I'm fairly certain that you also spend very little time reflecting on your past because you find more joy and fulfillment in the present moment. Right now is all that matters. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi. Great post.

    I think you would increase your blog visitors if you began doing some squash videos in YouTube. Things like analytical tactics where you show a video of a top league game (ramy etc) and pause the video to explain why he did x shot at x time.

    Then put a link to your blog and vice versa.

    There are some squash videos on YouTube but not any on showing the top pros and explaining their shot selection and technique.


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