How do you describe the indescribable? How do I write about the thing I love most in this world? How do you describe to a perfect stranger why you are willing to change your entire life for your dog? How do you explain that no matter how many times it seems like you’ve failed, you go home, study courses, listen to good music, and rise early in the morning to do it all over again? Ways that have the ability to break you or build you. How do you tell someone that you put your entire soul into something only to have it ripped away by the universe, but you still get up and try again? How do you describe to someone you don’t know that this sport, this passion, this life moves you like a wave; rising and crashing, each time bringing with it a new beginning waiting for your footprints.
The answer to all those questions is simply: you don’t. You can’t take the thing that propels your life forward, and pulls it back, and pushes it sideways and tie it up in a neat package with a bow. I have been doing dog agility for as long as I remember, and in the past three years it has changed my life in incomprehensible ways. I don’t know how to do something in a small way, I never have. Everything I do, I do with all my heart and soul. It’s who I am. Because of that I have been able to accomplish so many things; I won Junior Invitationals, becoming the best junior handler in the country, I was able to represent my country in international competitions. I’ve been able to reach my dreams. But once you accomplish a goal, the journey doesn’t end there. It moves forward. I have been able to accomplish goals as a junior handler, goals that seemed out of my reach. And now, those accomplishments have become stepping stones. I have goals of competing on a world stage, as an adult, to represent my country and be able to demonstrate my talents and passion to the world, to be the best. Those goals shape everything I do in my life. These goals have made me stronger, more resilient. They define me. When most of my friends are together on the weekends, I am traveling all around the Northeast to compete. I spend every free minute thinking and planning how to further my journey towards my goals. As I put more and more of myself into my agility career, I had to fight to maintain balance. Balance with my schoolwork, maintaining good grades, having a job, having friends, teaching agility to kids for free; all of that has been an exercise in time management. Finding that balance is an ongoing quest. Rain, or shine, snow or sleet, my dog depends on me to take her hiking, to train her, to do the things together that will make us a stronger team, a team that is able to accomplish those goals. The same goes for my school work, no matter what, my homework needs to be on time, and that test needs to be studied for, that isn’t an option.
Finding that balance has not been easy. It is an ongoing quest. Sometimes my school work will suffer, sometimes my agility will suffer, but it is the balance that is key. That is something I will always work towards, pushing myself to be better, to be honest, to be braver. I am fortunate enough to have a community of people around me from agility who push me and support me in all I do. That balance is what will push me to where I want to go. That balance will be what separates me from the rest.