What motivates me to keep going?

I love knowing that tomorrow, I get to wake up and crack jokes and make people laugh, even if they’re laughing at me, not with me. I love that I get a chance to smile, a chance to giggle, a chance to belly laugh at something crazy. I love that every time I can choose how to react, I can choose to react positively. I love that I always have a choice!

I love knowing that I can build these great relationships with athletes that show them how much I care, and show them how important it is to take care of themselves for now and for the future. I love setting up routines with athletes where we happily say hi to each other everyday, or where I ask them how their shoulder is, and they say “well, it’s there”. I love knowing, or more so hoping, that I’m making a difference.

I like that I get a chance to try again. Every day I get to be better, do better, and think differently. It’s always an adventure! It keeps me going because it means I get another opportunity to take a stab at the random things life throws my way. Truthfully, I don’t always know what keeps me going. I do know that sometimes I run on autopilot, and then when I get a second to sit and breathe, and realize how tired I am — I also realize how blessed I am. Life is good even when it’s tough.

I have actually come to embrace the delightful wandering of my brain. I am partly terrified of creating something disorganized like this thing I’m writing, because the prompt is a bit aimless. It’s very open-ended compared to my usual posts and while it’d normally scare me, I’m fully embracing the fact that it’s going to be messy. This pandemic year has forced me to learn to be by myself, to just tolerate the random nonsense thrown my way, and to just let things go. Flying by the seat of my pants has become much more normal to me, though I’m also seeing that it’s not sustainable. So I suppose that a return to normalcy may also motivate me, but it still feels so far away.

In the end, the little things have been my greatest motivation, because they’re very simple. The sunshine, the random robins and bluebirds that stop on campus, cracking incredibly awful dad jokes. The little things let me feel joy, which is often much needed, even if fleeting. The big life goals and the mentorship aspect of my job are not ever simple — so they are not always motivating, because they’re complicated, but they are the other part of the equation that guides me through my daily decisions. I guess this is why short- and long-term goals exist! Both are important, just for different reasons.



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Jen Xu

Athletic trainer, PhD student, coffee lover. I write about fitness, mental health, being Asian-American, and personal growth.