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March 12, 2019

 

Kelly Catlin ended her life at the tender age of 23. Just a few days earlier she had written about the hardships she felt being a world class athlete and a student at a top university. She had warned us that even at that elite level “things go wrong, no matter the time management or organization or discipline. Life happens . . . broken arms, concussions, mechanicals, lost books, bad Internet speeds, you name it. You cannot plan for the unplannable.”

 

She asks what we do when these unplanned things happen, as they happened to her and to all of us. This is her answer: 

 

The greatest strength you will ever develop is the ability to recognize your own weaknesses, and to learn to ask for help when you need it. This is a lesson I have only just begun learning, slowly and painfully . . . I still fail. As athletes, we are all socially programmed to be stoic with our pain, to bear our burdens and not complain, even when such stoicism reaches the point of stupidity and those burdens begin to damage us. These are hard habits to break. 

 

Please remember her final message to us:

 

So, remember: Just as with your muscles, your mind can only repair itself and get stronger with rest. Ask for a rest day, or, if you’re fortunate to be your own taskmaster, give yourself a rest day. Unlike everything else in life, it cannot possibly do you harm. 

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