I love the new year because it’s always an opportunity to reflect on the body of work that has been done over the previous 365 days and stare at a blank canvas and plan for an exciting year with endless possibilities.
2014 will be a year I feel grateful for reinforcing values that I feel have given me a life I love, and also taught me a lot as I move towards being the best possible person that I can be.
It was also a year of some struggles and challenges, but in doing so it brought me awareness and appreciation and opened other amazing doors and people, as most challenges that we face bring.
I checked a massive thing off of my soccer bucket list when I went to Australia and played in the W League. I learned we can do anything we put our minds to, as I had been off of competitive soccer with a serious injury for over a year before I went and brought my body back into shape that was the best of my career. I learned that the hardest thing to accomplishing anything is just jumping in and taking a leap of faith, and I went to Australia without having a team finalized or having any idea where I was going to live in the long term but just a trust and a determination that it would work out.
In the end, I ended up having a fantastic time playing for Newcastle, traveling all around Australia for games, playing some of the top players in the world, having amazing roommates, and experiencing what I love in life, those moments where you just feel like you’re standing on top of the world. Highlights off the field included surfing with one of my best friends I made in Norway, meeting the founder of the Women’s Game Ann Odong and talking women’s football, and a four hour meeting in the middle of Sydney in a huge sky scraper, with Moya Dodd the only woman on the Executive Committee of FIFA, who it was an utter privilege to exchange ideas with how the women’s game can be made better and learning about her story and experiences.
But I was reminded that those amazing moments can only happen if you have the courage to wade through the waters of fear and self-doubt, and climb the mountain to get there.
Same thing when I stood in the middle of a quaint little village in Spain in May this year suiting up for my first game in three years with the Irish team again fulfilling a goal I had to get back into the team at least one more time. I appreciated everything about the experience and even ended up making a friend that we played, when we ran into the Spanish girls on the streets of Bilbao that night. Everything I love about the beautiful game wrapped me in its arms once again.
girlsCAN was incredible and I saw a group of players that took a leap of faith with us win our first State Cup and also some wonderful kids go through the college process and get scholarships that brought me back to the time when I went on the path to find some of the greatest experiences of my life. Another highlight included coming to a field from another team’s game late, and seeing our nine and ten year olds with their bags lined up, running themselves through their own warm up.
That being said, finding out my foot that had been aching for months actually was a fracture and spending my summer in a cast was a massive downer, that not only seemed to penetrate my physical life and kill the high from playing the months previous and all the new goals that I was making, but also, the physical wounds seemed to seep into my personal life.
You never know if it’s the chicken or the egg, but a positive attitude and most importantly kindness towards yourself seems to attract those that bring out the best in your life, and I lost that for a time in 2014 and the manifestations of that showed.
But I’ll also always appreciate the struggles as I’ve learned and re-affirmed some incredible friends that are inspiring, kind and always there for me, and reminded me of the importance of taking the time to love and cherish those special people that make us smile in whatever little way that they do.
For 2015, I have goals, and I’m making them and thinking about them as I look out into the most beautiful scenery ever, in Barbados, surrounded by some of my most favourite people in life. I feel full of everything that’s about happiness, love, and generosity and grateful to start my year off on that note.
While I have some specific goals, my biggest ones for 2015 from a personal standpoint to challenge myself to turn every single thing that happens to me this year, whether in my control or not, into something that is truly a positive. See it as a positive, be thankful for it as a positive and use it to be something that I look back on and be so grateful that it happened to me.
From a professional standpoint, my first and foremost goal is to do things and complete projects with people that I enjoy working with and who bring out the best of me, and also take an attitude with everything that I do, that I want it to be something that makes people’s lives better and thus inspires others to make the worlds around them be better as well.
I want to immerse myself in an amazing process and challenge myself to be the best I can be in every regard.
I have no doubt that in doing so that the outcome of 2015 will be a year I look back on as being the best one of my life, something that that beautiful blank canvas of January 1st gives us the possibility to achieve.
Here’s to everyone this year to Dream Big, Always Believe, Make it Happen and Give Back.