Updated: Apr 13, 2020
We all experience life changing events. These times have the ability to rattle our bones to the very core and completely redirect the path we take in our lives. Some life changing moments can be detrimental, but a lot of this depends on our perception of and reaction to the change.
I believe life changing moments can be summed up into two categories: We either experience some type of gain or loss. This gain or loss can be tangible or intangible. I may go bankrupt and lose everything I'm worth or I may get in an accident from risk taking behavior which ceases my daredevil personality. The possibilities are truly endless, but our reaction after the change determines the effects in our daily lives.
The biggest change in my life was losing football due to post concussive symptoms. The picture here is me after my last appearance in a college football game, but the Tanner in this photo didn't know this would be his fate.
Like most kids, I wanted to play in the NFL from the moment I strapped on the pads in the fourth grade. Throughout high school and into college where my career would ultimately end, I always identified by the jersey I was wearing. This was my activity, motivation, source of exercise, and social connection. I had been around a team my entire life and then one day just like that it was over. I had lost my identity which affected me immensely. I gained weight, lost friends, and no longer had the activity in my life that had gotten me out of bed for the past decade.
Whether it's football or not, I believe this theme of change resulting in loss is very relatable. I thought that my life was over because for as long as I could remember, football was my everything. So at 19 years old, playing football was no longer an element in my life.
We all have something that we identify with. The problem with identifying with something that eventually ends is that life still has to go on to the next chapter. It's okay to identify with something that has an inevitable ending, but we have to be ready to figure out what's next when this moment arrives.
While I initially perceived football ending to be an EXTREMELY negative event, it just turned out to be the last page in that chapter of my life. It wasn't good...it wasn't bad. It was just life forcing me to adjust, adapt, and conquer the next part of the journey earlier than I had expected. Don't let this short paragraph fool you into thinking that this transition and acceptance was easy because it wasn't. Quite frankly, recreating a new identity was the toughest thing I had ever had to do in my life up until that point, but it started me on the next road which will come with another inevitable curveball thrown by life. This time though...I am that much more prepared.
So don't think a perceived negative event has to be detrimental. It may just be the beginning of the next awesome chapter of your life!
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