A Letter to the Me of 2023

At this moment in time, it is January 2nd. I am sitting in the backseat of dad’s truck, smushed between people and luggage and dogs. We are packed up and driving through the impossibly foggy roads, heading back home to Indiana from our week spent in Florida. When we arrive this evening, I will only have 14 days left in the U.S.

I figured it would be important to write this letter before I leave. This New Year coincides with one of the biggest jumps I have taken in life: moving to a different country and throwing myself into professional cycling. I want to write this letter to mark my thoughts at this moment in time, to provide the future me with a point of reference, a “something” to come back to when I question everything. Something to remind me of who I am and what I stand by. And to see how far I have come.

And so, to the me of 2023: this is where I am at now. Before chaos ensues, before adventure begins, before life swirls into a whirlwind of new experiences and emotions. Before it all: I am excited. It feels right, like there’s nothing else I should be doing. In a weird way, everything fell into place perfectly. I have no ties, no job to leave, no house to worry about. No pets, no partner, no nothing. I am free and able and life handed me this opportunity with the most oddly perfect timing. That in itself, tells me something.

And so when there are moments you question if you are doing the right thing, or on the right path, remind yourself: this is how you have always wanted to live life. Living it fully, diving into new experiences bravely. It doesn’t mean things will always work out great- not at all. But this sport is a way for you to exemplify what you most believe in: possibility. You believe in squeezing everything out of life, of pushing yourself and seeing what this human experience is all about. This is part of you living that value.

Current me is also fearful. I feel like I am not good enough, like it was a fluke for me to be selected. It feels like I am too inexperienced, the classic imposter syndrome is constantly knocking at the door of my brain. I fear that I am going to be unprepared, much worse than my other teammates. I fear crashing, failing, embarrassing myself. I battle insecurity on the bike and I worry I will never be able to descend or corner or ride at all like the badass women I watch on TV. I worry I will fall into a bad relationship with cycling - what if I lose the love of it because I put too much value in my success? Is it scary to have your passion become your job? Yet, I write these things out because part of me knows that these worries and feelings are only on the surface. Part of me knows that this is a place for evolution, for change and growth. What would it mean if I were completely prepared for everything I did?

So, to 2023 you: I hope you trust yourself. I hope you take these fears and feelings of being an imposter, and let it fuel you. Let it be proof that you are living life well, facing the unknown. Remind yourself that life gave you this opportunity for a reason. You worked your ass off, you earned this. You know that external success is fleeting. It never correlates with joy and doesn’t mean nearly as much as the pursuit of it all. So when it’s hard to remember, take a breath. This is an adventure. This is all for the pursuit of something. The goal is the pursuit, the growth, the people you meet. Dreams are incredible, expectations are guide posts, but don’t let that dictate if you succeed or not. Don’t let high expectations take away from the adventure. Everything else is a byproduct, a side effect, a bonus. You belong, and you are meant for this.

I have no idea what this year will contain. It may bring some of the best days of my life. It may also bring some of my worst. But I know myself, and I know what I feel now will be important to come back to one day, to see how I have changed. I often think of the time a friend of mine interrupted me spewing anxieties at him, and asked me: “at your core, do you think you can?”

I paused for a moment. And realized, yes. At my core, I know. I can do this.

To the Me of 2023: You are doing this. Be bold & be brave. And don’t take life too seriously - just enjoy the adventure.

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