Retirement from your gymnastics career after high school or college graduation can seem so bittersweet because you’re likely only between the ages of 17 and 25, and have the rest of your life ahead of you. You can’t help but feel like a huge part of your life is coming to an end, and you’re literally heartbroken.
BUT… who says you really have to break it off with the love of your life, especially if your heart still swells with joy when you spend time together? Even though your gymnastics difficulty may not remain at the level it once was, (though Oksana Chusovitina may beg to differ), your gymnastics relationship doesn’t really have to be over. Ever.
Here are a few signs you may never be able to hand over the divorce papers with Gymnastics, your very first true love:
1. Even though you earned your degree, you continue to coach gymnastics, you own a gym, you create and sell gymnastics stuff, or you judge gymnastics meets, whether it relates to your college education or not. Yes, it’s your real job and the thought of ever leaving it – the gymnastics world – makes you tear up. Or ball your eyes out.
2. You sneak in some gymnastics in the office or wherever it is you work that’s not gymnastics related.3. You still hold handstand contests with your former gymnastics team buddies… in places as strange as the sidewalk outside of a restaurant where you just ate.
5. You still keep your grips, tiger paws, and even your old floor music in your car. Hey, you never know when you’ll get the urge to play around!
6. You continue to utilize the conditioning you learned in gymnastics at home or even at the park on a random pull up bar. After all, it’s important to keep up your strength if you want to keep up those skills—and your rock hard abs!
7. You’re beyond pumped when you realize that you don’t have to practice your skills every single week to maintain them. You may even be able to go a few years! Isn’t muscle-memory the best?
8. Despite the star-filled sky, you continue to flip. Then you realize it’s daytime and the stars have yet to come out. You’re a little sad that you’re seeing stars… but boy, they are kind of pretty.
9. Now and then, you can’t help but jump into your kids’ handstand contests at the gym. (Even if you don’t win…Because hey, you’ve taught them well!)
10. One of your major life goals besides getting married, buying a house, having kids, and/or coaching your “gym kids” to reach their highest potential is to be able to do a kip, a back tuck, a giant, or any sort of gymnastics into your 50s. Or 80s and 90s? (Hey, if Bruno Klaus and Johanna Quaas can do it, why can’t you?!)
11. Before you get too involved, you make sure to inform your significant other of your relationship with “Gym”. You may even introduce the two of them without it getting awkward.
12. The term “Adult Open Gym” holds a whole new meaning.
13. You refuse to commit to any gym that does not have a foam pit. Sometimes even a good ‘ol sting mat won’t do the job of protecting those ankles.
14. Your flipping upside-down habits end up at formal events. Yes, even on your wedding day. In a wedding or bridesmaid dress.
15. Without really stretching, you demonstrate some skills for the kids you coach. Then you realize you might need some Icy-hot. And maybe a drink or two.
16. You see a kid at the beach doing gymnastics and you feel very tempted to join in.
18. When you do have a little one, you can’t help but hold photo sessions in adorable leotards.
19. You find that eating dinner at the dinner table at 6pm is well… really kind of weird. Aren’t 4-8 normal work-out hours?
20. Conversations with your gymnastics friends (past or present) always seem to end being about…gymnastics. Even when you try to change the subject.
21. You still take obligatory handstand pictures at every cool place you visit.
22. You make sure to watch the Olympics and every other gymnastics meet you can find on TV. You secretly memorize dance moves, rave about the difficulty, and get a little more excited than usual for Open Gym.
23. Your library consists of books written by many of the gymnastics greats. And some inspirational gymnastics books for your little ones too.
24. You cringe at the words EX-gymnast or former gymnast. Your mentality? Once a gymnast, always a gymnast.
25. People talk about retiring in their old age, and while “retirement” surely has a great ring to it, you’re pretty sure you don’t ever want to stop. Because when you find a love as true as the one you have for gymnastics, let’s face it – you never want to let it go.
“Maybe the day I stop doing gymnastics is the day I die.”
–Johanna Quaas, 91, Oldest gymnast in the world Interview with Washington Post
If this post resonates with you, be sure to share the love.❤️