Updated: Jan 24
The end of 2022 is here after what feels like a blink of an eye.
This year has been one of the most challenging years of my life, both mentally and physically. My performances this year have quite literally been my best ever, they have even been referred to as ‘World Class’, making two international finals across Grand Prixs and World Cups. During my end of year review I used the time to reflect on these performances and tried to find positives, what I did well, what I could take away from this year. I looked back over the season and felt empty, I struggled to find something positive or productive to call out, I simply felt deflated and was just so grateful that the season was over.
People used to see me as driven, motivated and bubbly, but during 2022 I felt lost, out of touch and without purpose. Identity is so important, and I felt like mine had been completely waylaid. I’ve always been ‘the shooter’, which is something I’m incredibly proud of. Being able to compete for Wales and Great Britain is an honour and those achievements will stay with me for the rest of my life, however I’m so much more than a shooter, and it’s taken nearly an entire year to remind myself of that. I have always been a passionate person, jumping into anything that connects with my ‘why’, but this year I momentarily lost that passion and drive.
Feeling like I had lost myself has been scary and I hadn’t understood that it could or would happen to me. I also find it alarming that I couldn’t see it happening. A combination of family events and health problems meant that at one stage, I was just trying to make it through each day without something disastrous happening. This feeling seemed to act as an enabler for me to be scared of everything, wrapping myself in bubble wrap and saying no to opportunities that I would ordinarily throw myself into.
I have been so fortunate that there has been so much support on offer, but when you don’t understand how or why you are struggling, you don’t know what support to ask for.
December has changed a lot for me, I’ve managed to reconnect with myself. Whilst my ‘time off’ has already been and gone, I’ve spent the winter training period as time to heal and restore ahead of 2023. This is and will continue to be an ongoing process, but it’s a process that I am relieved to have started.
I love running and the freedom it creates, having headspace where I can focus on one thing at a time, which for me, is to just keep going. I used to use it as a place where I could go into a meditative space, using the time to focus on my breathing. When I was running a lot, prior to 2022, I was in the best place I’ve ever been. I used to identify myself as being a runner and that was something I was so proud of.
If this year has taught me anything, it’s that we all need to take the time to check in with ourselves. Whether this is on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, we need to take the time to sit with ourselves and reconnect. I think this goes beyond the question of whether we are surviving or thriving. Am I okay? Is what I’m doing sustainable? When was the last time I saw a friend? Not a colleague or teammate, but someone I can connect with in a safe space, outside of a training facility or place of work who really knows and understands me. When was the last time I spent time on our hobbies or on something that’s really important to me and my personal mission? Is there something toxic in my life that I need to address?
These are all things that have completely bypassed me this year. I am so thankful that I was able to have a conversation about this with a loved one, which inspired me to sit and make a list of those friends I need to reconnect with and those hobbies that I would love to spend more time on. I’ve committed time in my diary to friends, family and hobbies again, I’ve reintroduced fitness classes and booked in tennis lessons. In one month alone I have made what feels like more progress than throughout the entire year.
Identity is described as a person's sense of self, established by their unique characteristics, affiliations, and social roles. In 2022 I needed reminding of this.
I am a shooter, I am a runner, I am a marketer, I am a business owner, I am sporty, I am outdoorsy, I am a bookworm, I am musical, I am driven, I am a go-getter and in 2023 I will not forget.