I realized the other day, not being able to play beach volleyball at the regular amount I was playing at this time last year (at least 3 times/week. More if I include beach volleyball training), has been like going through the five stages of grief:
1. Denial (I can play through the pain!)
2. Anger (Why is this happening to me! I take care of myself!)
3. Bargaining (Why didn’t I train with better technique, or do exercises that could have prevented this?)
4. Depression (Well we all know what that sounds like.)
Right now I think I’ve moved from depression to acceptance. I know that if I do truly have frozen shoulder, recovery could take a very long time, and attempting to play (which I have) can set me back (which it did).
I’m a firm believer that your body tells you when things need to change…it’s a matter of figuring out exactly what you need to do to fix things that’s the complicated part. I don’t even really know what caused it…again, assuming it really is frozen shoulder like originally diagnosed (more on that Friday).
But moving into the acceptance part is necessary for me to discover “a new normal” in my routine. When something was such a HUGE part of my life, not having it means big changes…and often tough changes.
But just like any major “relationship” change, I think it’s important to acknowledge what was really great about it, and what lessons it taught me that I can take to the next phase of my life.
How to lose gracefully. I admit that a good majority of my “volleyball career,” I did not do a great job of losing gracefully, especially when it came to competitive tournaments. I had friends who could easily shrug if off and just be out there to have a good time, but for some reason I took it more to heart, and was very hard on myself if we did not win or do well. But in life, there are times where you are just not going to win…in fact, failure is just as important as success in what it can teach us about ourselves.
Interdependence. You can’t play beach volleyball by yourself. Whether you play 2’s, 4’s, 6’s (or more), you have to rely on other people to help you play your best. You can be the best hitter in the world, but if you don’t have a good setter, it’s going to make it really hard to side out. The same is true in life. You are going to probably always have to work with someone, even if you’re like me and a solopreneur. You may not have clients or co-workers you like, but it’s important to try to make things work if you can. Good communication, and “helping people help you” will only make your life easier. I must admit, I’m still working on this one.
Success means nothing if you’re an asshole. There are many players I know who have done very well at the game, both in recreation and professionally. You can be at the top of your game, but if you stepped on everyone along the way, acted like a jerk on the court, or are not a nice person in general, no one is going to be happy for your success. Believe me, I’ve seen it. I’m sure there are many CEO’s out there or self-made billionaires, where they are rich beyond comprehension, but the legacy they leave behind is that of destruction. Do you want to be remembered for being a nice person who practices compassion, but doesn’t have fame or millions of dollars? Or do you want to hurt people on the way to the top?
There will always be cliques/haters/gossipers. I don’t care if you belong to a church group, corporate job, book club, or running group, there will always be some kind of ringleader/bully/drama queen (or king), gossiper, energy vampire, etc., who will divide and conquer. Call it social hierarchy. You can’t run from it, but you can keep your side of the street clean. The beach volleyball scene was no different. You can either get sucked into that toxic environment, or learn to walk away or not engage in that kind of behavior.
Do not create your whole identity around one thing. For a long time I ate, slept, and breathed beach volleyball. I was downright obsessed with the sport. It consumed my every moment, and also a lot of dollars from my wallet. When you only have one thing that seems to identify you (job, relationship, hobby), losing that one thing can leave you in a big black hole of depression. If you’re not well-rounded enough in your life, now is the time to fix that. Luckily for me my obsession faded to just the main thing I did for fun, so when the pain in my shoulder occurred, it softened the blow a little knowing I had other activities (like blogging and running) that I could fall back on.
Don’t play the comparison game. Well I’ve talked about this a million times on this site, and just like blogging, comparing yourself to someone else in volleyball is just as dangerous. There were plenty of people to look up to of course (just going to a pro beach vball tournament and seeing the hot athletes was enough to make you put down the Oreos), but there were so many instances where my comparison of myself to other peers who played, turned me into a raging perfectionist who could never live up to my own standards.
Find your flow. The flow is that thing you could do for hours, and it feels like just minutes have passed. It’s an authentic happiness. Bonus points if that activity is a healthy one instead of something like just working all the time. It’s very hard to find something where you have that kind of flow and get lost in something. I found that with beach volleyball, and hope to one day get back to it again, but in the meantime I begin the search to find something else that brings me that kind of happiness.