• Shannon Brault

Bad at Letting Go

Anyone who has gone on a car ride with me is probably really sick of hearing the same 5 Songs on repeat all the time. I usually find a song, or a few songs that I will literally play on repeat for days, weeks or months. One of the most recent songs is called ¨When You Walk Away¨ by 5 Seconds of Summer. In the bridge of the song it says ¨I’m bad at letting go¨, which has been my feeling about myself for the past few months. Lately I have been having a really difficult time because it seemingly seems like everything is ending. Now I know that no one purposely seeks out and enjoys change when what they are doing originally makes them happy, but change is something that I struggle so much with. When things change and I am not prepared for them I shut down completely. Instead of accepting the change, I close myself off to it and don´t know what to do with myself. This is especially relevant with the coming of Spring and the leaving of ski season. This year has been so much harder than the rest of them because I finished up my last high school ski season which has not been easy by any means. I’ve felt so broken and so lost without it and all season long I was dreading the end of the era. Before the season even started I had panic attacks about it being over like I was already missing something that hadn’t even started. Skiing has been such a huge part of my life and has been what I have focused all my time into. It seemed to be the one thing that was always there for me when I needed it. It is something I can do when I am happy, sad, stressed, beaten down, ecstatic, exhausted or any other feeling and it always makes me feel better. I have spent a lot of time crying over the end of this beautiful thing and I wanted to take a true moment to reflect on it.

I joined the Richfield Nordic Ski Team in 7th grade with the push of my family since both my brother and sister did it. I was very obsessed with dance at the time and my mind was so closed to the idea of doing the same thing that my brother and sister were doing that I did not gave it a fair chance. I essentially took 8th and 9th grade off and came back in 10th grade. I was placed on the Varsity team and I fell in love with it. I fell HARD, and I fell FAST! Ever since Sophomore year I have been pretty much inseparable to it. I constantly wanted to improve and my junior and senior year it was literally all I focused on. Everyone always called me insane because there were many days I would go on three or four skis a day because I was so in love with it and didn’t know how to live outside of it. I had some pretty ambitious goals I wanted to achieve senior year and I wanted to do everything in my power to achieve them. I wanted to know that even if I didn’t get to where I wanted to be, I gave it my all and I didn’t hold back.

With these goals this season I was constantly beating up on myself for taking the years off of nordic when I did. I thought if I hadn’t taken those years off I could be where I wanted to be. I am going to be honest, the season ended two months ago and I am still having these thoughts, but when I really think about it, I can’t go back. I can’t change what happened. I didn’t want to do skiing and I put my time into something else I wanted to. That thing didn’t turn out and I came back. I did what I do best. I reevaluated and saw something wasn’t working for me, so I changed it.

I am 18 years old right now and there are so many thing I have not seen in this world. SO many things I haven’t seen. SO many things I haven’t tried. SO many people I haven’t met, but for whatever reason I have been seeing skiing as the end all be all and the entire world. I was looking at certain schools just so I could ski and I was convincing myself that if I didn’t reach these standards that either I set or somebody else set that I was somehow a failure. Now this can happen in any sport or activity, but it was very relevant for me.

Skiing gave me a home, a family, a purpose and a meaning. I have met some of my favorite people and best friends through skiing. I’ve had so many amazing experiences, seen so many amazing places and I got to be a part of the best thing that has happened to me to this day. It has been so incredibly hard to give up and I am still struggling very much. Senior year is the marking of an end of an era. I couldn’t wait to get out of high school. I truly believe some people are just not meant for high school, and I am one of them, but skiing was the one thing I never wanted to end. The Richfield Nordic Team has been my family for so long and I have met some of the best people I think I will ever meet (I hope this wasn’t my peak… ). There are seriously some people that I never, ever want to say goodbye to. At our sections meet I cried the entire day (Im weak), but I was just seriously not ready to say goodbye to everything that I have known. Growing up is scary. Moving on is scarier. And losing something that you cherish so deeply is the scariest. Nothing has given me more joy and nothing has helped me more through the crappy years of high school (whoever said it’s the best time of your life better have been lying). It is SOOO hard to let go of something that you love.

Anyways, enough of my ski talk because it is all I talk about. My point is that I’m bad at letting go. Just like the song I have never understood how people made it look so easy. Even the little things in life I have such a hard time letting go of. I do not know how to simply ¨be¨ and I would say that’s my biggest weakness. I like to have a plan and I like to be in control of that plan, but that’s not how life works. Life is messy and complicated. It takes you by surprise and it messes with your plans. As my mom says ¨You make a plan and God laughs¨, which regardless to whether or not you believe in a higher power, is true. Sometimes nothing goes to plan and that is something skiing has also taught me. You need to be flexible in life because things don’t always turn out the way you expected. I was also reminded by a coworker a few weeks ago that sometimes not getting what you want is exactly what you need, and sometimes not being where you thought you should be is exactly where you need to be.

I beat up on myself for ¨this¨ and ¨that¨ and I have a hard time forgiving myself and moving on. I am always worried that whatever choice I make is going to be the wrong choice, so many times I choose to not make any choice at all. Sometimes life overwhelms me so much that I don’t know how to continue… and that is where I am at now. With the end of skiing and with the end of many other things coming, sometimes it feels like everything I know is going up in flames. Its disorienting, confusing, and scary, but then I realize that there is still a part of me that is excited to see what the future holds. I applied to 9 schools before October 1st, so I could have a college decision by December and I am still trying to decide where I will be attending school next year because of this crippling fear that I am making the wrong choice. I know that many of my friends are also in this situation, or can relate to it. To whoever needs to hear this I just want to say that life is scary, but you shouldn’t let the fear of falling keep you from flying (sappy, I know… just go with it). Life is full of decisions and as I was reminded the other day: you really just make a decision to get to your next decision.

So lets be honest, I have no idea where my life is going, and I’m terrified. I am sad and feel like a huge part of me is missing, but life has a funny way of working out. I’m excited to see what happens and I am eager to get to the point where I can let go a little more, and a little more to get to the point where letting go isn’t an issue. Having faith in the unknown is scary friggin terrifying. I like when things are black and white, but again that is not how life works. Life is full of so much gray space.

Its okay to hold on to what you know, but it’s also okay to move on and find something new. Take risks. Life moves so fast. I’ve been talking about taking risks for months and I’ve been reminded that everything you do in life is a risk. You never know what is going to happen. Do what’s going to make you happiest and if you don’t know what you’re doing, find a way. Find a new path if you need. Just do what you need to do and the rest will fall into place. If something isn’t working out for you, reevaluate. Switch your path. Try something else. If something isn’t broken, don´t fix it. Just let go a bit and live presently. We spend so much time in the past and the future, that we never spend any time in the present. Letting go allows you to live and embrace the life in front of you. Here’s the secret: Live moves pretty fast, and if you don’t stop and look around every once in a while, you could miss it.




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