"You haven't found your sport, yet."
That's it. That's the thing I wish someone… anyone, my friends, my parents, some stranger on the internet… had told me a long time ago.
I was not a very physically active kid. I wasn't fat, but did have above average BMI, didn't enjoy PE, didn't get picked in the football teams, the works. I grew up with this notion that I was just One Of Those People who Don't Like Sports. A complete lie.
My dad was into Rugby, so he put me to Rugby practice as an 8 year old. I was very good at it, mostly because of sheer force (I was really strong and bulky for my age), but I did not enjoy it. The other kids were gross and annoying, it wasn't fun. So a couple years later, I stopped, and my father told me: "Pick another sport."
It's a significant question, one you don't have the true answer to when you're a kid. I picked Fencing, though. I kinda liked it? As much as one can like a physical activity when you're "One Of Those People who Don't Like Sports", right? It was different, original. It wasn't particularly fun, but could I really expect to ever have fun doing physical exercise? After all, I hated going to the gym, and I didn't enjoy running, so surely, I'm just not that into sports.
So that was it. I thought I had found it, the one I happened to pick at the age of 12, after not much soul searching at all. I did it for a few years, picked it back up at 22 for a few more. I tolerated it. Loved my club and coach in one of the cities, something which fooled me into believing I was a fencer. I'm 30 now, and until the age of 27, I had zero doubts about that. I had the gear and years of experience. I would move somewhere new, look for a new fencing club, get demotivated because it's a 40 minute bike ride to get there, and just… not go.
In retrospect, it's obvious that I didn't particularly like fencing, any more than most people like ironing their clothes. Of all the things I'd tell Past Self, I would start with just how motivated I would be only a year later. I would tell them about the subscriptions to 4 different ice rinks across the country, the train subscription with the 1 hour commute to get there, how I'd go 4 days a week and feel sad when it's only 3, and how I'd always be taking my gear with me whenever I go to another country as trying out a new rink would be the most exciting part of an international trip.
I'd tell past self:
"You haven't found your sport, yet. It's just that you don't like the ones you tried. You're still thinking about motivation, but this is about necessity. When you find it, you will fall in love. It will become a core part of your life and identity. It will bring you joy and be your partner, like the piano to the pianist. You found a sport you can tolerate… one day, you'll find one that is truly You.