As long as I can remember, figure skating has been the main aspect of my life. As a young child, it was a hobby and sport that I was good at, and it fueled my fire to keep skating and competing for over a decade.

I spent countless hours on the ice pushing myself to be the best I could be. Figure skating shaped my life and has been one of the few consistent things in my life to this day. I stuck with the sport through countless physical injuries and mentally challenging experiences because the feeling I had skating and performing was unlike any other. It was freeing and exhilarating.

It was my passion…until recently.

During my final year of high school, I realized that I lost out on a normal childhood and adolescence, throwing away some friendships and opportunities outside of sports in order to skate more. I grew to resent the sport and felt that going to my long and extensive practices felt more like a job as opposed to something I loved and wanted to do.

Even with my passion fading for the sport I once loved, I decided to join the club team at my university and compete at the collegiate level. I figured that being in a different environment would re-ignite that spark I once had for the sport and help me fall back in love, but I was wrong. The small resentment of my sport still resided in me, and my performance on the ice was plummeting fast. I finally just could not bring myself to practice and completely fell out of love with figure skating.

I knew I needed a break from my sport to figure out what I wanted to do and the only way for me to stay skating was if I 100 percent wanted to.

I took my second year away from competing and stayed off the ice for months. During that time, I was able to recover from old injuries I did not care to fix and took up new opportunities. Even with time away from the ice, I felt like something was missing. That missing part of me was figure skating.

I reconnected with some teammates and made my own choice to start skating again a couple of months ago. I felt at peace, free, and in love with this sport again. I felt like myself, and I felt comfortable on the ice for the first time in years. Most people who take a break from their sport never come back, but for some reason I did, and I am so glad I did. I realized how much figure skating means to me and the way I have grown because of it.

Yes, I needed a refresher from the sport, but it caused me to remember what it felt like to skate out of pure love for it, and it changed my life.