Expectation refers to something that you believe will happen. Something you expect, a knowledge in your mind as such, that the given situation will strongly occur. If it does not happen then you are hit with an array of emotions. Bad emotions. Sadness, disappointment, anger. Throughout my life, I have adhered to the values of expectation. At times my expectations have fulfilled their duties, and at times they have not. One thing that I have, however, come to expect is the unexpected. And I love it!
Six months ago, I was led on an unexpected journey. A journey which has opened up a new passion in me. A passion that was always present. A dormant passion waiting to be triggered. It was triggered. Triggered unexpectedly. Thankfully!
During my childhood years, I took part in numerous activities, in search of something I enjoyed doing. Obviously at the time that was not my mindset. I did not actively set myself down and tell myself I’m in search of something I can call my passion and do for the next few decades. No, I was here to have fun! I guess that’s what every child does though, unaware to themselves, it’s a good way to make friends and go with the flow. Do what everyone else does and more. It was a fool proof plan really. I mean at that age nobody was going to make fun of you for going to Irish dancing classes or making pottery. It was all the one to me and to every other child that age! Partaking in everything and anything. Sports, drama, dancing. Not a care in the world only to have fun, make friends, laugh and smile. At least that’s how my childhood was, until I reached my teenage years and more pressure and conscience was being applied to my self being. Makes you miss being a child doesn’t it.
Teenage life is almost the opposite of the above for a lot of people. They decide to pack up the stuff they love doing and coincide with what they think is ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable’. In contrast, I can understand that not everyone accepted the acceptable and did decide to keep doing what made them happy. Kudos! Living in a small, rural village doesn’t go well with that frame of thinking though. I was living in an area where you realised very quickly that if you didn’t do what people thought was normal, you were weird. Not the most ideal place to grow up in I know. Maybe if I had grew up in a city things would have been different. A broader thought gauge. I had tried a lot of sports in my teenage years – soccer, gaelic football, hurling, tennis, martial arts, athletics. I was pretty handy at them too. Not the most aesthetically pleasing on the playing fields, slightly awkward and very lanky, but still pretty good. I enjoyed playing them all, until I got to the age of sixteen/seventeen and realised there were some I didn’t enjoy. I thought I enjoyed them but in reality I was only playing because all my friends were and to keep certain people happy (family and coaches). The one I did however enjoy, even though I had never done it any bit seriously was, athletics. I really, really liked athletics. I was the typical fast kid, this was established early on through the other sports in my village. To this day I still can’t fathom genetically where it came from, but it’s there. I got my first experience of athletics through an event called the community games. It was an event that would take place each year for kids in primary education. It would begin in the local towns, with the best kids from each locality progressing to a city stage, then regional and finally country. I only ever actually did it once, and I took well to it. I won the 100m easily and also won the 1500m and high jump at my local stage. It felt great. Bizarrely enough though I decided to only do high jump and 1500m at city stage. Needless to say I did not qualify for either. I also got to take part in the relay. My first ever time stepping foot on a track – I forgot to mention we had no track in my locality – just a field. We came last. Dead last. Technically second last because the team who was cruising to victory dropped the baton just before the line, but in my mind last. I loved it though. The competitive feeling. Running. The excitement and adrenaline that rushed through my body. But that would be my last race for a very long time. Why? I really don’t know. It just never occurred to me at that time to pursue something I loved doing. Maybe it’s because I had been brainwashed into partaking in the other sports at the time – soccer, hurling and gaelic football. It was normal in my mind to play these, so I played them.
Four years on. Transition year. A new school, but not a new mindset. Same old sports – soccer, hurling, gaelic football. The only difference this time was that this school actually did athletics, occasionally. We would partake in an event called the VEC sports day which involved a number of schools from the region partaking in track and field. The other time our school would do athletics was the annual sports day. This allowed me to get a total of six more chances to refresh my mind about athletics, throughout the next three years of secondary school. Again, I loved every moment of it. It was something I looked forward to every year, and I didn’t look forward to a lot in school trust me. I wouldn’t have minded if I wasn’t good at it but I was. I was very fast. It was all team event based so I only ever took part in relays but I was fast. I had a raw talent and I needed to do something about it. I didn’t do anything about. Not for lack of trying, trust me. I had asked my parents could I join an athletics club. The closest one to my village was thirty minutes away. I presume at the time my parents did not realise how much I enjoyed it but regardless I got a no. They weren’t willing to drive me. The other option was to get more involved with athletics through my school. They would have to pay for me to enter competitions but at least I would have got a chance to get more involved. Again, no! I would have paid for myself at this stage but no. All I was getting was no, no, no…
At this stage, athletics was truly behind me. I had come to terms with the fact I was not going to be doing it. Back to soccer, hurling and gaelic football. Once I began college, athletics actually became very accessible to me. There was a track at my college, a team ,a coach. I did not join. It did not even occur to me to join. I had gone through my life always believing it was something I would never do. So I didn’t do it. I accepted the reality that was put before me. I accepted.
January 2016. Two years on. A move to Barcelona as part of my college degree. Six months away from home. What am I going to do? I was overwhelmed with the excitement of moving away but anxious as to how I was going to keep fit. How I was going to spend my free time. I had read up about a gaelic football team that trained once a week, on a sunday. It was nothing compared to what I was doing at home. No hurling and no interest in playing soccer. Once I actually arrived, it became very clear that I was going to be vulnerable to numerous nights out, copious amounts of alcohol, and very little physical activity. It became apparent to me that this was not the path I wanted to take. I enjoy going out but to a certain extent. I need to find something. I-D-E-A! Athletics. I remembered passing an athletics track on my way from the airport to my new home. I didn’t think anything of it at the time until that moment. In that very moment, a passion of mine was reignited. Even just from the thought of it. It’s funny how the brain works, atleast my brain anyway. The next day I arrived at the athletics track and I haven’t looked back since. I have a passion in life, it took me years to actually do something about it. I’ve never been happier. I’m finally doing something I genuinely enjoy. I don’t know how far it will take me success wise but I’m certainly going to find out. Maybe it’s too late. Maybe it’s not. I’m going to give it one hell of a go though. It’s time to take that raw talent and fly high! What do I have to lose? Nothing. Worst case scenario, I get to do something I love doing. I get to be surrounded by people with the same passion as me. Even if I don’t get to as high a standard I as I want, I’ll never regret the decision. The unexpected decision. The right decision.
Moral of the story – if you find something that you genuinely have a passion for then don’t be afraid to do everything in your nature to pursue it. It will make you happy. That’s what really matters at the end of the day. Happiness. I would have never expected to be doing athletics again. Certain situations in my life led to this moment and I have to say it is one of the best decisions i’ve made. Expecting the unexpected.