As maybe a few of you know, I had a rather interesting adolescence training as a competitive Rhythmic Gymnast for 10 years of my life. this included summer training camps in Canada and Russia, along with 20 hours a week of practice in middle school and other such crazy experiences. As it was occasionally traumatizing, most of the time I prefer to shove these memories in the back of my mind. However, sometimes, I do stumble upon them, and think of various things I’ve gained and/or lost from this decade of my life. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned, so that you don’t have to repeat this long and strenous process yourself:

1. If a new leader steps in with a cult-inducing personality and tries above all to tout the nationality of their homeland, you should probably be wary.

2. Cliche, but still not stated enough: you can only really excel at doing something if and when you love what you do. This does not mean that the practice has to come easily; often, challenges are essential to enjoyment. However, make sure that the issues you are fighting are worthy pursuits.

3. The toughest enemy you will ever battle will be the one in your own head. The toughest opponent you will ever struggle with will be that of your own body, even if you are a 5-foot tall gymnast.

4. The relentless pursuit of perfectionism is lethal. The enjoyment of life and culture is not only pleasant, but has great artistic and social worth.

5. On the flip side, having faced enough drama and politics within a childhood to last a lifetime, when anyone tries to give me trouble now, I just make like Beyonce and think this.

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