What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me When I Was 20
Over the past couple years, I’ve gotten into the habit of reflecting on the younger versions of myself. I look at what I’ve learned over the course of my life and sometimes chuckle at how naïve I was at 22, 23, and 24 years old.
I try not to let my mistakes discourage me, but instead look back from a more positive perspective. I am encouraged when I see how far I’ve come because it reminds me that I am constantly improving myself and there is still more improvement to come.
Looking back, however, I find it frustrating to reflect on how immature I was in my early years of university. I can’t help but think that with just a slight mental shift, I could have avoided a lot of pain, frustration, and regret.
One the most defining moments of my athletic career came when I was just 20 years old. It was the summer of 2011 and I had just been selected for the Canadian Junior National Volleyball Team.
At the time, I basically thought this meant that I had “made it”. My career as a successful volleyball player was solidified and all I had to do was hit cruise control and ride the highway to success.
It only took me about a few days before I realized things weren’t going to be so easy. I was now training with the best of the best in my age group. Just showing up wasn’t going to cut it.
The finer details of that summer are a blur but the main thing I remember was being yelled at and developing a strong distaste for my coach.
The guy screamed and yelled about everything. He had high expectations and was damned if we weren’t going to meet them. I wasn’t having any of it. I saw his criticism as idiotic, unnecessary, and I let myself focus on emotions, not reason.
This, however, was not the hardest part of the summer. That didn’t come till we neared the end.
The traveling roster for the world championships was 12, but we were training with 14.
Two poor suckers were about to get a nice swift shot to the gut.
Evidently, yours truly was one of them.
My world felt like it had been flipped upside down. Everything I had done up to that point had been working towards this. To be on the national team meant I was one of the elite.
But, to me, getting left behind felt like it had negated everything I had done.
I remember the conversations I had with teammates shortly after the announcement. Everyone was really supportive and said that they couldn’t believe the coach’s decision. They said it didn’t make any sense and I totally agreed.
But looking back now, part of me wishes they had told me something else.
The more reflective, mature, and wise version of myself wishes that I had heard some more honest feedback. Rather simply, I wish someone had told just me…
You got cut because you’re not good enough.