• SarahThackray

Updates and Whatnot...

Hey guys! I realize I haven't written a blog post in a while so I thought I should give an update on everything that's been going on. I've had so many exciting changes in my life recently and have been really busy!

Something that most people don't know about me is that before I started training jiu jitsu I went to university for biochemistry and nuclear medicine technology. It was a ton of work and was very challenging and rewarding! After I graduated it was tough to find a job in the field. I applied to quite a few positions, but in hindsight I didn't try hard enough and assumed something would just fall into place for me.

When I couldn't find work in the field, I decided to focus on jiu jitsu training and bartend on the weekends for extra money. I always knew that I wanted to come back to nuclear medicine as a career one day but I had lost hope that I would find anything.

A couple of weeks before Worlds this year I got an opportunity to move to Toronto for a job and start in a month! I was nervous to pick up my whole life and move across the country, but I knew that I couldn't pass up this chance. There were so many unknowns and I had many sleepless nights of worrying after making the commitment to go. "What if I don't like the job? What if I don't have time to do the things I love anymore while working full time? What if I can't train jiu jitsu at the same level anymore? What if my health deteriorates again and I'm away from my family?"

...And then I thought to myself "Sarah, what the heck!? Why assume the worst when you don't know anything yet. There's just as much of a possibility that everything will be awesome- and it's up to you to make it awesome. YOUR life is in YOUR control, it's not some random roll of the dice. Go out there and seize the day damnit!

Anyway, I started planning my big move across the country, was studying for my summer term final exams (I decided to go back to school and take some courses online), and was training hard for Worlds. Worlds was a great experience, and was my first one at purple belt. I had three great and tough matches before unfortunately losing the one I needed to win to make it on the podium. I got disqualified for a 4th penalty after my opponent and I already had 3 each from the double pull. The ref felt that I was stalling in top 50/50.

I was crushed at the time to lose a match I would have won despite the penalty and to have missed a chance to medal at Worlds. Looking back now, I can see it more clearly and take pride in the good: I fought each match as well as I could and gave it 100% for every second of every fight. I fought with a calm and determined mindset and my energy and conditioning felt very good despite a bit of a rocky year with my health. I didn't bring home a medal but I brought home some valuable lessons about jiu jitsu and life!

Fast forward several weeks and I'm all settled in Toronto. So far things have been wonderful here! The house I am staying in is lovely and spacious and I have nice roommates. My job has been interesting and I'm working with a great group of people. I signed up for a gym nearby to do weightlifting and get settled back into my strength and conditioning routine. Best of all, despite a heavy work schedule I have been training 6 days a week in jiu jitsu at my new academy Toronto Bjj. Everyone at the new gym has been very welcoming, and I feel so grateful to have found a place to continue what I love the most! It's weird to not be training with the Alliance team and with my coach that I've been with since white belt. My instructor back in Vancouver, Thomas, is such a special person to me and has been the best coach I could ask for.

It has been an unexplainably satisfying feeling to be out on my own for the first time. I've technically moved away before (university, my long trips to Brazil etc..) but this is the first time I've been able to be financially self sufficient and it gives me a new feeling of pride. I hope things keep going on this positive trajectory- and I figure that if I keep putting my best self forward every day, more good things are sure to follow!

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