Routines – we all have them. They’re a part of everyday life. Whether getting up for work, riding the bus to school or drinking coffee in the morning, most people have a specific pattern they like to follow day in and day out. Routines are easy. They don’t require much thinking and eventually become habit.
Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with routines. As much as I try to stay away from them and be spontaneous, it’s very difficult. I’m a type A personality in the sense that I’m extremely organized, like to write 'to do' lists and make somewhat of an outline of my plans week to week. A bit compulsive? Yes. But these nuances keep me sane and allow me to stick to my…routine.
Despite the fact that my daily regimen keeps me organized, on time and accountable, I sometimes feel like a robot. With a little more than 2 months to go and the end of the season in sight, I’m starting to get antsy and sick of it. Part of me wants to rebel and jump on plane to South America for two weeks – but obviously this is an extremely ridiculous and unrealistic option. I’m under contract and I take pride in my job. I can’t just leave because I feel like I’m slowly losing my sanity. However, every night when I cross out the days on my calendar, these are the type of thoughts that run through my mind…
Every morning I wake up early enough to make coffee and read the news online. With minutes to spare, I’m out the door and on the freeway driving towards a neighboring city to shoot with a men’s 1st division coach and 7 Americans (men and women). The workout is always great. For an hour Jan (T71 men’s coach) puts us through a high intensity, competitive skill workout. It wakes me up, gets the sweat dripping and competitive juices flowing. When the hour is up we catch our breath, stretch and socialize before heading our different ways. After finishing up in Dudelange, I drive back to Esch and eat lunch provided by a restaurant I visit everyday. The food isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. After lunch I'm home for an hour to catch up on emails, then off to the fitness center for about an hour and a half. During this time I lift, do a cardio workout and abdominal exercises. Finally, I head back to the apartment to rinse off, finish up homework (for the two online classes I’m taking), make dinner and get ready for practice. Depending on the day, practice concludes at either 8:30pm or 10pm. Following practice I shower, have a snack, then typically watch a movie or read before going to bed; only to get up and do it all over again. Saturday and Sunday are game days, so they're a bit different. There are exceptions, but for the most part, the above is on repeat for 8 months.
Living in Europe is unlike living at 'home' (Vancouver/Seattle). I’m never really able to break out of my pattern in Luxembourg. I can’t sporadically go eat dinner at my parent’s house, visit my grandparents, meet up with a close friend for coffee or join a random club at a local community centre. I’m in a foreign land surrounded by different cultures and languages. I don’t have another pro teammate by my side this season going through the same emotions as I. Yes, I’m close with a couple of the pro’s on opposing teams – but there is no one beside me in the weight room encouraging me through the last set or someone to take the pressure off me in practice. It’s just me, myself and I 70% of the day. And sometimes, that person can drive me crazy! ☺
Though I realize I’m living an interesting and comfortable lifestyle - a lifestyle I quite enjoy, it’s always around this time of year I start to feel this way. Maybe it’s because I’m sick right now, coming down from the high of my birthday or that I’m getting excited about summer plans – but the last few weeks have been tough. My body is sore, I’m tired of being double or triple teamed every time I touch the ball and I’m starting to hate lifting weights in a weight room full of juice heads in tight clothes who love to admire themselves in the mirror.
Understand I’m thankful my job doesn’t have me chained to a desk everyday. But sometimes, I can’t tell the difference between a Monday and Saturday. At times I forget what day of the week it is or date of the month. I do the same thing almost every single day of the week, 8 months the year when overseas. Monday through Sunday rarely changes. The moment I have a day or two off, I’m out the door with suitcase in hand, ready to break the routine and lose myself in a new destination.
There are a couple times during the week I'm able to meet up with friends, but it’s difficult. My Lux friends work regular jobs and the Americans I hang out with most have conflicting practice schedules. We make time, but not without difficultly. As the only pro’s on each of our respective teams, most of our days are spent working out alone. We all live in different parts of the country, with access to different gyms. Our workouts and practices are scheduled at different times. Even when I have a few hours to spare, I’m often too tired to go anywhere from working out hard. It’s not a bad life and I know that there are people out there working much harder. But the point of this post is to give you an idea of my 'work' life abroad.
I realize the tone of this entry is different than most I have written. And I would like reiterate that I really do enjoy getting paid to play basketball and live/travel in Europe. Sometimes I forget I've been given the opportunity to live in and experience beautiful countries full of history and uniqueness. But I'm not here just to sightsee - I'm here to do a job. There is always the other side that people don't realize and it's the part that isn’t as glamorous as it seems. But as stated earlier, it’s very difficult around this point in the year when the end is so near (yet so far), the body is starting to ache and being far from friends, family and home really starts to sink in. It can be isolating, lonely and tiring. But it’s the life of an overseas basketball player.
Sidenote: Thank you to all my friends in Luxembourg who made my 25th birthday memorable! I had fabulous birthday evening spent with wonderful people. I’m thankful for such great friends!
Sidenote2: Congrats to UBC, my brother's university team for making Nationals! With the #3 seed in the Final 8, they open this Friday. With a win, they'd play in the semi's Saturday and the CIS National Championship game Sunday! GO T-BIRDS!!!