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Health and Wellness

How One Rash Decision Let Me Bloom From Unhappiness To Fulfillment

I woke up one day, decided I wasn't happy with my life, and I made a change that turned out to be the best thing ever.

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woman holding flower
Brooke Stiles

My whole entire life (literally since I was 3 years old) I missed out on many, typical things kids do, from birthday parties to whatever else kids did on the weekends because I didn't want to spend mine doing anything else but playing softball.

I couldn't wait until Friday after school so, that I could head to my next softball tournament.

Since I grew up in Florida, where it's pretty much hot all year long, giving you constant access to outdoor sports, my whole life revolved around the softball community.

There was never an off-season with travel softball, school softball, whether it was middle or high school, and I was perfectly okay with that. Finally, my junior year of high school I signed a contract to play softball for the University of Tampa, in Tampa, Florida.

My dream had finally come true. All of the countless days of practicing, running, training, and preparing my body to reach its maximum capacity of athleticism, had paid off.

Then, the day came where I would step on the field as a college athlete. Nothing felt more amazing than to step on the field of newly laid clay and fresh cut grass, to take a deep breath, and to say to myself "I made it."

My dream ended up not turning out to be what I had always thought it would.

I ended up not being able to play during the Fall season due to a back injury so, I decided over winter break I'd come back bigger, better, faster, stronger and earn a spot on the field. When Spring season came along and games actually mattered for our record, I did what I told myself I would and earned some playing time while still suffering from back pain.

Although I earned some playing time as a freshman, my coach was known to mentally exhaust players. By this I mean you can take advantage of all your opportunities to perform well and still get benched while another player plays your position not as well because the coach took a specific liking to that player.

This can be extremely detrimental to your mental health when you stay after practice to work on your skills, workout/train on your own besides the required workouts and runs, and have your own teammates telling you that you deserve that spot. Not to mention, all of that on top of being a Biology major living in a foreign city 200+ miles away from your family and friends.

But, it was the sport I love and I'd do anything to play, so I tried my best to keep my spirits high.

Until I couldn't anymore.

I couldn't deal with constantly being upset over the team's performance, the coach's decisions, and the way I was treated by teammates I thought were supposed to treat me like family.

Don't get me wrong I had some of the best memories in my life with that team but even so, they were still unwholesome. When I went home for summer break I still felt a weight on my chest and I knew something wasn't right but I didn't know what it was.

Then, I woke up one morning and rashly decided to transfer schools and quit playing the sport I had loved for so many years.

I didn't want my college athlete experience to taint the many, amazing memories I had of playing softball all of my life, and I also didn't want a sport to hinder me from making memories from what is supposed to be the best years of my life.

So, I transferred to Florida Gulf Coast University, joined the stunning Kappa Delta Sorority, and found the love of my life.

This university, the students who attend, and the community surrounding it encourage me every day to reach new heights of my potential, to engage in community service, to indulge in the numerous, amazing opportunities they have to offer and many, many more things that can change your way of thinking and the way you look at the world around you for the better.

For the first time in a long time, I feel as though I am in a place where I truly belong. I am in harmony with my mental, physical and emotional state. I am at peace with myself and others.

I am in full bloom.

All thanks to one rash decision.

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