Anjali Days & Marbles

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Read my latest post at U.S. Paralympics or below!

December has been an eventful month! I’ve decided to adopt a term called, an “Anjali day”. What is an “Anjali day”? It is the day when you can’t keep up with all the exciting things going on or that are brewing. It is the day when everything just happens at lightning speed and by 9am I have an out of body, out of mind experience where I just take a deep breath and say, wow, are all of these things really happening right now?

What types of things, you might be wondering? Well, securing big time interviews, being contacted for a cool speaking engagement, making a potentially powerful networking connection, asked to be a part of an advertisement or receiving a magazine and being surprised to find out that you’re featured in it. Apparently, some of these things are not the norm. But, it is a regular occurrence for me, and so I have affectionately deemed such days, “Anjali days”.

December has been full of “Anjali days”. The month kicked off with my going home to MA for the first time in over two years. I missed the holiday, but was asked to be a part of the May Institute Benefit Days at Borders stores around MA doing book signings! My co-author and I hit up six Borders stores in the span of three days. The whole event was surreal, to be there signing books for old friends, family, strangers (including one woman I literally had met on the plane ride in that day!).

It was a whirlwind of a trip, my days started around 5am and went until midnight just trying to pack the most in! The book itself was very well received and Borders is working on getting my ISBN added to their system nationwide which means soon, anybody can go into a Borders and order my book! It has been truly rewarding to be able to educate others about Paralympic sport and sport opportunities for people with disabilities.

The whole book tour thing was surreal; it was very exciting, don’t get me wrong. I hope it’s the first of many more to come, but it’s a bit weird to be out there signing autographs and selling and promoting your own book. It’s been a unique experience! The Boston Globe ran a story about me and the book signing event that can be found here.

The fun continued as I headed to Nashville, TN after my book tour. One of my best friends Dr. Steven Aragon and his business partner Pete Stipher opened a private health club called Impact Fitness. I had the opportunity to be a part of their grand opening celebration. Their whole mission and philosophy stems from everybody leading active healthy lifestyles, and that we all strive for that.

My US tour continued as I then hopped on a plane to sunny CA for the last official training camp prior to our departure for Worlds. I was there for the end of the training camp, an inter-squad competition and then made the decision to stay for an extra week of the CA sun. To be honest, it was a hard decision to make, since my coach, teammates, home was back in IL, but looking back, it was the right decision.

Even though it meant training on my own, I realize that removing yourself from situations to not allow distractions and obstacles has a great deal of benefit. Not to mention being able to actually train outside wearing a tank top while my teammates were driving through frigid -8F to get to practice!

CA was a good time for me to remember what all this training is all about and to have the time I needed to just relax, and to train. With only two things on my to-do list out there, it was a treat! I had the opportunity to meet many Olympic athletes, mostly rowers who were there for a camp, and it’s funny how similar we all are. We all shared laughs about how ridiculous our lives are and how that just is the norm.

Since getting back from CA, I made the decision to stay relatively grounded until leaving. I went to Chicago, actually to ORD, because I missed it, to have lunch with my siblings who had a layover there on Christmas Eve. I figured, why not? It was exciting to see them as they were preparing for their own adventure. I am proud of all that they are doing and think it’s pretty cool that we get to meet up in random places such as airports!

The whirlwind subdued for the end of the month. It’s like a funnel, all channeling down getting ready for Worlds. If you picture a marble spinning down a funnel, like in the childhood toy MarbleWorks, you can see the blurry colors take on a solid rich hue. The marble symbolizes me, the end of the funnel is arriving at Worlds. The marble gains continuous momentum as it circles and circles and circles. The distractions and other life things that occur are other marbles that get added to the same funnel.

My marbles job is to keep an eye on the target and to keep on track despite the bumping, the interruptions and the congestion. The circles get smaller as the marble inches its way to the narrow opening. Just when you least expect it, the circles almost stop and the marble jumps a little bit as it shoots straight down that hole. That was my month of December, and my marble made it! And now, it’s approaching game time, and I’m ready for it!

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