This has been a full year of changing directions for Josh and I, personally. I have been tasked with putting my trust in God and truly letting go of any anxiety that comes with the amount of change that I have been through this year. Honestly, letting it go and not picking it back up has always been a struggle for me. Until this year. When some major job changes came to fruition in early March I began to apply and continue to job search. When the many doors kept shutting in my face it was made quite clear that the path that I had been on was not the path that God intended for me to continue on. With a bit of coaxing from the very supportive people around me, I chose to launch this platform, BullFrog Creatives. Without fully knowing the direction it would lead it finally came to fruition. The past several weeks have lead me on a journey through my past experiences, as you have all been privy to. It has also allowed me to think back on those experiences through a new lens. A lens that is not clouded by the sadness that overcame me and one that has, as of late, been more focused on the blessings in my life.

Last week I was listening to The JK Experience, a podcast recorded by the broker that Josh and I are sales associates for. A lot of what he talks about is leadership and professional development based, which is my jam. In this specific episode, Colin Young Talks Life After Baseball, it hit something inside that I didn’t even know existed. You see, JK and Colin played professional baseball for several years. Short of telling their entire story, the just is that both were pushed to early retirement much before they were ready. While I never looked at it in the same regard, it really is’t completely unlike my situation.

As a contestant in high school my goal was to qualify for the National High School Finals. It was a close call but I did it. I tied for the 4th place hole with another girl that made her horse, too. I can’t imagine anyone else more deserving. When I was in college, the goal was to qualify for the College National Finals Rodeo. While I didn’t make it as much as I could have- or should have- I did it. The goal and idea of the gold buckle dream was the big one. To qualify for the National Finals Rodeo was, and is, the ultimate goal as a rodeo competitor. Similar to JK and Colin, I was forced into retirement.

My retirement was similar in that it wasn’t my choice. It wasn’t my choice to be done rodeoing. When it happened I didn’t realize that I was done; that it was over. Horses don’t live forever and it wasn’t like I was the only person to have gone through it. Most people move on. Most just buy a replacement. And I did, too. She was no Frog. And I didn’t have the time she needed. Life changed and my responsibilities grew- in other words, my bills grew.

It wasn’t until I listened to this podcast that I began to see the similarities. As JK wrote on his facebook wall, ” If you’ve ever chased a dream and failed to achieve it, you know the personal shame you feel and the pain you experience. ” There it was. Failure. Shame. That is a hard one to swallow.

I’m not the person that I thought I would be. I’m not doing what I thought I’d be doing. Did I fail? I chased hard. I reached some of the goals but not all of them. Does that mean I failed? I have thought a lot about this. I never felt failure, still don’t. I never felt shame, still don’t. I don’t feel like a failure. Although I returned to Casper without the gold buckle on my belt, I didn’t fail. I actually never felt like the dream was over. I think the dream just changed a bit. I always thought I would keep rodeoing. I always thought I’d get back around to it. I’m not sure I ever will. And, I will never give up trying to get back to it. I may never wear a gold buckle, but I will never give up living the dream and the lifestyle that has shaped me into who I am now.