Finding Another True Love

Since my two loves were taken away from me I was devastated, that is, until I found a new love.

I started playing soccer when I was 5 years old. I remember crying because I didn’t want to go to soccer camp; at the end of the week, I was crying because I didn’t want to leave. I started skiing at the same age and have skied for a month with my family every winter since then. I went on to fulfill my dreams of playing soccer for 4 years in college. These two sports brought me lifelong friendships, unforgettable memories, and molded me into the person I am today. This was my life, until everything changed.

After multiple knee surgeries I decided it’s in my best interest not to partake in sports with such a high level of impact. From my earliest memories on, soccer took up a majority of my free time, so without the two sports I grew up with that brought me so much joy, I was left with a void in my heart and continuously thinking, “Well, now what…” I was struggling with finding purpose.

I hadn’t figured out what was next for me until I was already consumed by it.

Since moving to Utah in December, I joined a gym with a climbing wall to have the option to climb with my friends when I wanted. Why not? I had climbed twice a couple years prior, but I had no idea of the love affair about to blossom. Since joining the gym I started climbing 6 days a week and taken multiple climbing trips down to Moab and to the Wasatch mountain range. I had never felt something like this before.

For me, climbing is completely different than anything else I’ve ever done. Essentially, the act of climbing puts your body in a fight or flight mode; when you’re on that wall all you can think about is how not to fall off. Your hands sweat, your legs uncontrollably shake, you know you’re attached to ropes that will catch your fall but you can’t quite convince your body that. It’s almost impossible to think about anything else.

Rock climbing is an investment. It takes a vast amount of knowledge of safety precautions to complete your first climb. Everything you must learn you must never forget because you could die. Even with all the safety precautions, being in the element of nature is a wild card in itself, so you kind of have to be slightly crazy to partake in such a sport. But that’s the thrill of it.

Through climbing I’ve learned:

  • To not be scared to try new things
  • To trust my body physically, which helps me trust myself mentally
  • It’s okay to trust others with important things (even your life sometimes)
  • There are more important things in life than how you spend your free time
  • How you spend your free time is one of the most important things in life
  • If you’re open to it, you can find another passion in life
  • If you’re falling (or things are out of control) relax, you might not get hurt this way
  • Life’s a journey, a long, strenuous, devastatingly beautiful journey

I asked my rock climbing partner why she climbs and she said this, “I rock climb because it challenges me both physically and mentally. It pushes me out of my comfort zone, it makes me trust myself, my feet, my hands and my mind. Climbing is an escape, a destination, and a journey.”

Rock climbing is a way of life. To make it simple, my life is now broken into two parts: when I’m on the wall and when I’m not. Here’s to many more adventures and making the most out of life.

I aspired to write this not simply to share my story about climbing, but to open up a conversation about how we all deal with loss. Whether it be due to injury, illness, death, suffering, heartbreak, we’ve all lost something. And we’ve all made it past it or are making it past it. How have you coped with things you’ve lost? Have you ever had to give up a passion? Do you tend to hold on or move on? Thanks for reading and let me know below πŸ™‚

For another article by me about how to love the repetition of life, read:

My personal blog can be found here:Β

97 thoughts on “Finding Another True Love

    1. That’s awesome, Lisa, so happy for you! What’s one of the things that’s most helping you rediscover your love for life again if I may ask? Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ <3 Ellen

  1. Nicely written. I especially like your list of lesson you’ve learned or are learning. Like you, I played sports, but not at the college level. I was a pretty fair athlete in high school but was undersized to make it in college. During high school, I tore my ACL during a football game when I was playing running back. Unfortunately, I did not realize the extent of the injury and so didn’t have the problem taken care of right away. Years later, after a really catastrophic injury on the same knee while I was living in Poland as a Peace Corp Volunteer, I had an emergency surgery done and was told that I had been living with a torn ACL and had meniscus damage as a result. I immediately thought back on the play that it all happened in high school. I still remember it like yesterday. Now, I’ve had two surgeries on that same knee. I often joke that I have 25-year-old knee and a 75-year-old knee. As a result, I can no longer jog without accruing some serious joint inflammation and stiffness. I discovered bike riding, though, and love it. It’s like rehab for my knee too. So, yes, as we age and have traumas, we are bound to lose all sorts of capabilities, but look for new pursuits. I actually like bike riding more than jogging, so it’s not a loss; it’s a gain. Plus, I’m a follower of Stoicism and so I constantly practice the observance of my own physical deterioration. This is a kind of philosophical training that prepares me to be at ease with change and ageing. Many Americans try to pretend like they aren’t getting older, but that is very psychologically unhealthy. Change is the only constant.

    1. I can sympathize with you as I’ve had 4 ACL repairs (10 total knee surgeries) it’s rough to relive it and I can’t even watch soccer on tv without getting emotional but I don’t blame myself for that because it was once my life and I’ll never regret that. But I’m glad you found biking as a way to cope and even thrive, and I’m in a similar boat with climbing. I’m really intrigued by the idea of stoicism, because you’re right, it’s kind of the social norm to avoid aging and to even pretend like you’re not, especially for women. How did you first get into Stoicism? I’ll take a book recommendation if you have any πŸ™‚

  2. thanx for this interesting and heartfelt blog post. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the dream we thought that our life would be that we refuse to accept the reality. Our society teaches we can do anything we aspire to but life is not necessarily like that. Yes we should persevere and never give up but sometimes–some dreams–goals—do become impossible to achieve and then I think we are the greater hero for realizing that this loss does not need to define us. There are more dreams and goals out there, More things that God in HIs providence has prepared us for. I have had to give up some dreams lately because of health issues and that has been discouraging but today is another day and if I keep my focus on what I can do–and gently pat myself on the back for a well spent day then I can deal with the losses.

    1. “We are the greater hero for realizing that this loss doesn’t define us”–those are beautiful words! It’s great to have goals and dreams but when things don’t play out like we thought they would or life throws us a curve ball, there’s nothing wrong with giving up that dream. Frankly, I think relentlessly chasing far-fetched dreams is really over romanticized these days. Yes, shoot for the stars but realize when it’s time to move on when your dream is drowning you. The only way we can “lose” is if we fail to set any more goals. I’m sorry to hear of your health problems, but you definitely have the best attitude for focusing on what you can do and celebrating those small wins! Kudos to you πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading and for sharing your story. ~Ellen

    1. Thank you! I find it healing for me to share my story in the hopes of inspiring others. After all, life’s always going to change and throw us curve balls, and the more we learn how to deal and share our experience with others the better! Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ <3E

  3. Thank you for this post. I am 38 and had a heart attack last year and am gonna to have to change my entire career from children’s safeguarding – frontline work which I have spent 12 years specialising in and adore – to something else. I know my health comes first but I’m gutted. I need to find the love in a new role x thank you for the inspiration to do so.

    1. Thank you for reading and I am truly honored you feel I have given you some inspiration to find a new love. As tragic as your situation may be there is always light at the end of the tunnel, and always some good in every day (as my mom always says). As much as I’m sure it’s painful to give up a passion, it’s going to be that much more rewarding when you find another one. Keep your head up, mind open and I’m sure you’ll find it. The main purpose of why I write is to be able to impact people’s lives in a positive way and I cherish the moments when I can. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me, I wish you the best, and will be following your story when you share the good news.

  4. Yes, grieving is a part of living. I am retired and felt I lost my identity when I left the work place. I was always in public service in one way or another and then suddenly I was feeling worthless. I had a friend nudge me toward my former hobbies that I had put on the back burner while working. Crocheting, reading, walking. My craft projects soon gave me a renewed feeling of purpose as I give what I make away. Thank you for sharing your heart. Blessings!

    1. That’s great to hear that you’ve rekindled your love for your former hobbies. Kudos to you for being open to it and for your friend for some great advice. It’s definitely hard giving up your passions and something you’ve worked your whole life on, but there’s always something better down the road. Creating is human nature and I’m glad you’ve found some solace in it. Blessings to you as well! ~Ellen

  5. Please choose the right answer

    What is love?
    a) The affirmation of the beauty of living.
    b) The affinity we feel towards other people and things.
    c) The opposite of fear.
    d) Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.

    1. Heyo! Lol, well it’s definitely not A as love doesn’t have to do with beauty at least in the sense of appearance. It’s not necessarily the opposite of fear although it’s opposing it. So I’m going with B & C πŸ™‚ Please let me know if I win a prize or something!

  6. I’ve only ever rock climbed once. I was a corrections officer and was assisting an instructor to take inmates out on an excursion to help them learn tocovercome fear and to work with others.
    I had my own fears pertaining to the exercise and was also unsure of my safety knowing that it was an “inmate” that was controlling my safety rope. When I reached the top of the precipice I was greeted by the smiling, congratulatory face of an individual I’d had a run-in with earlier in the week. He was genuinely happy for my success.
    I learned, through this experience, that I can place my trust in others, turn the result over to a Higher Power, and relax.
    Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    1. Hi Norm, wow what an amazing story. I’ve never heard anything quite like this before and I’m definitely in awe of your trust in others, the trust you had to have in yourself to complete the climb, and the lessons you learned along the way. There’s nothing like trying something new and conquer your fears to show you something! Thanks for sharing your story and for reading my post πŸ™‚ Blessings! ~Ellen

      1. Thanks Norm, I have and I love the photos you have on your blog. I am also a photographer but you’ve captured some great ones of nature!

  7. Great post. I have stopped playing sports, left the military and retired from DEA. Each time I missed the comraderies most, but then found a new team.

    1. I love this! There’s always some grief we must endure when closing a chapter, but that opens the door to your next best chapter yet. I’m glad to hear you’ve found a new team. Thanks for reading! ~Ellen

  8. Awesome post! Change is one of the hardest and often most rewarding things that can happen in a lifetime. I applaud you for understanding your time limit of the one thing in life you loved and knew when it was time to move on. After my divorce 15 years ago, I took to writing, nature and photography as my outlet. I love hiking and being a birder. I just lost my job after 11 1/2 years due to COVID19 and I’ve embraced the freedom to write again. Well do and quite inspirational! πŸ’•

    1. Hi Lisa, wow, what a story. You’ve definitely gone through a lot but it seems like you’ve come out stronger on the other side and you’ve been able to pursue your passions of writing, nature, birding, and photography (which I love too!). I’m so sorry to hear you lost your job. It’s a hard time for all of us and we just have to have hope for the future and know that everything will work out. I’m glad you’ve taken the time to write more again! Looking forward to reading some. Best, <3Ellen

      1. Thank you so much for your comments. I’m okay with the job thing. The stress of deadlines was taking its toll on my health. I’m exercising everyday, building up so I can hike more elevation when we make our next trip to the mountains. I’m going to be 55 this year and want to have the stamina to do what I could do when I was 30. A little more everyday. Keep up the great positive energy! 😊

  9. Life can be harsh and unpredictable but sometimes when you least expect it, wonderful things happen! So you went to the gym to rehab your knee and stay fit and when no one was looking you fell in love… funny thing that is exactly how I found your mother. πŸ’•

    1. Yes life will always be unpredictable and I think wonderful things can happen if you have an open mind. Without that, you’ll be unaware of the possibilities out there. And yes, maybe it was unexpected for you when you met mom, but she had it all planned out. She knew you had horses and it was over from there!

  10. Hi Ellie πŸ‘‹πŸ» Great post! My bipolar and anxiety have caused me to lose working outside of the home recently. There was a big void,but I decided to take online courses to finish my bachelors degree and to write the memoir I have always wanted to complete. When one door is closed – another is opened! I try to focus on and see the good and positive in everything. It’s not always easy, but I believe everything happens for a reason! Thanks for sharing! I wish you the best – keep climbing πŸ˜‰ Be well! Kindly, Tanya – Divinely Bipolar

    1. Hi Tanya, first of all congrats on taking the initiative to take online course and get your degree and write your memoir! Those are big steps to take, especially when you easily could’ve been downhearted on losing work. We share the same mindset of trying to see the positive in everything, even in the darkest of times. It can be hard for sure, but it’s well worth it in the end. And yes, everything I believe does happen for a reason, even if we aren’t always privy to that reason. But why would we be? We’re not the creators of all things, that’s why we just have to live in the moment and trust the process πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing your story and I’m looking forward to reading your memoir! Best, Ellen

  11. Thank you for sharing wisdom from your journey. I have learned from here that it’s important to stay open when we loose. That way you find other loves that could not have been possible if we closed ourselves in after a loss.
    Thanks Blogger-mate 😊

    1. Hi Sam, yes I agree–losing is a part of life and if we can’t keep an open mind after a loss, we’ve failed to learn from it and be open to the possibilities following. One door closes, another opens, right? πŸ™‚ Thanks for reading and for sharing! ~Ellen

  12. I absolutely loved this! Indeed we need something to keep us engaged or move us from our state of grief, to distract us. In my case, I took up travelling and writing more. These have helped me see a part of me hitherto unknown to me and although this may sound like a clichΓ©, I guess I am on a path to self-discovery.

    1. Thank you so much, Parikhit! I’m glad you’ve been able to take up traveling and writing more in an effort to ease grief. What types of writing have you been focusing on? Thanks for sharing! ~E

      1. Thank you E! πŸ™‚ I started writing to let go of bottled emotions; somehow I have felt as an introvert it is easier to write something and post it than actually talking about it in person. I have also written about my travel experiences not from travelogue point of view but what I observed and learnt πŸ™‚

      2. I feel that way too sometimes. Especially depending on the topic, it feels better for me to write it out and deal with the emotions then in a constructive and digestible way. I checked out your page and I looked forward to reading more of your posts!

    1. Thank you! Yes, try it when the time’s right but the important part is getting out there and exercising while enjoying nature! I like trail running but more like trail walking…lol easier on my knees!

      1. I used to fantasize about rock climbing but now that I read your article, I am inspired. I’ll take your advice to wait for the right time. Meanwhile, I will involve my children with nature thru gardening and trail walking.

  13. This was so beautifully written and said! I used to play soccer in high school, and due to multiple knee injuries I had to stop as well. It was hard but that’s how I fell in love with photography and other hobbies. I’m actually an hour away from Salt Lake City (I’m in Wyoming) and would love to take on rock climbing. Loved the post and your inspiration!

    1. Hey Christal, thanks so much for sharing, we actually have a similar story! I also have taken up photography/videography since my injuries & I love having it as a creative outlet. If you’re ever in Salt Lake City let me know and I would love to introduce you to climbing! πŸ™‚

      1. Yes hopefully that is soon I’m definitely looking forward to a fun-filled summer! At least hoping for that anyways lol

  14. …. Life isn’t to be feared but understood. Great that you are able to rediscover yourself. That’s the beauty of it.

    1. Thank you so much for your support! I think understanding the fact that all things aren’t in my control, and learning to love life as it is and as it comes has really helped me rediscover myself. Thanks for reading πŸ™‚ ~Elle

  15. Really enjoyed reading this. Sometimes it takes losing something we considered constant to make us reevaluate what we really put our hope in. And the truth is, any of the people we love, any of our passions, and any of our privileges could slip out of reach overnight. Having dealt with the early loss of a parent, I’ve learned the importance of living for “the other side”– living in light of eternity. How we spend our time, which passions we pursue, and Whom we ultimately live for determines the lasting value of our time on earth.

    1. I love your outlook that is definitely how I aim to live my life as well. Some things are inevitable and I find peace in knowing that things are meant to be as they are, and that everything happens for a reason even if we may not be privvy to that reason. Thanks for sharing and wish you the best πŸ™‚ <3E

  16. FANTASTIC! I love to see and hear stories of people losing something, but triumphing in the end! Yours is a beautiful triumph and so FUN! I’d be terrified, lol! But I’m happy for you! I haven’t necessarily had to give anything up per se, but I have things I can no longer do since I’ve had kids. Just don’t have the time for it anymore! Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. That’s a good point, sometimes it’s not necessarily things we’ve had to give up but just things that have slipped away over the course of our lives. Both are tough but rewarding once you find something else to set goals around and look foward to. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  17. I’m so glad you found a sport that you love to make up for the ones you can’t. It looks like something I could sit with a nice cold drink and watch having different aches and pains that have come along with getting older. I totally understand having to give up the things you love due to an injury or whatever pain you may be suffering and your post has made me sit back mentally to take another look at myself. I have had to give up the sports and adventures I used to have which brought me to my knees in depression. Where once I could move mountains through the sheer power of my mind crumbled as I wasn’t able to do those things anymore causing me sadness and putting on tons of weight. I’m now waiting on an exercise bike and get back into the swing of things for I can’t live my life without trying out new things and adventures. Happy rock climbing. I am so glad you found a new love.

  18. What great life lessons too! I can see so many parallels. Even as I think of how I live by faith with God. Thanks for checking out my blog!

  19. Ellie, thank you for a wonderfully uplifting article. Like others who responded to you and so many others around the world, I have had my share of loss and disappointment. In particular, loss of my wife, the love of my life 16 years ago. As I have aged since then, I have had to give up a number of other loves in my life. My second love was sailing which I had to give up because I was not physically able to maintain and operate the boat. I can no longer play guitar due to neurological issues, and more. Although all of these losses were difficult, I was determined to not let them depress or defeat me. After losing my wife, I took up qigong and tai chi which soothed my grief and opened the door to a new life view. Rather than flounder in my own self pity, I was sensitized to all types of human suffering. My focus expanded to a world view, rather than on my life and struggles. I have accepted all of my losses believing that each had a purpose and life lesson to teach. Do I miss the many loves I’ve lost? Yes, very much so, but when I think of them, I realize what a blessing each one was and how grateful I am to have had them in my life even if only for a short time.

  20. I absolutely love this! While I don’t think I’ll ever be a mountain climber, the sentiment behind pushing through fear is spot on. πŸ‘πŸΌ

    1. Hey Ashley, thanks for reading and for your support! Although you may not relate to climbing, pushing past fear is something we can all relate to. Thanks again! <3E

  21. Great article. My son played soccer as well and after injury after injury his dreams were shattered at playing possibly in olympics. If you ever want to read his story. book is Faith Through the Fire. We would be please to send it to you free of charge.

    1. Hey Bill, thank you for commenting. Your son and I have very similar stories and after googling his book I would love to read it. Not being able to play soccer anymore and not being able to make the most of the seasons I had while I was injured is definitely something I still struggle with today. While I have found another sport I love to distract myself with, the wound of my soccer career hasn’t healed and am not sure if it ever will. I’d love to read how your son has handled it.

  22. It’s a hard fact about life. I learned to adjust with my loss but it does take a lot of time. But one thing is sure, ‘Whatever can happen will happen’, as per cooper. 😬
    But most importantly it’s all explained to simply and how to take up another love is amazing.

  23. Things I’ve lost
    My cousin passed before his fourteenth birthday, my brother passed before thirty two. My wife and I separated and my child wanted to be with his mom.

    I’ve loss things that have really broke my heart, mind and soul a little, but my beliefs are what keeps me going. My techniques are what help me cope, my dedication is what keeps me moving.

    I am driving for a world change, no matter what anyone believes of me.

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