03/23/2013 01:47 pm ET Updated May 23, 2013

Reflecting on the Past and Diving Into the Present

It's 2013. That means many things: graduating high school, turning 18, leaving for college. But it also means the end of my rhythmic career -- a 10-year-old career at that -- and I can't help feeling bittersweet at the prospect.

As I head into my last months of rhythmic, however, I've been constantly impugned with questions like: "Why are you still doing gymnastics? You're a senior, and college apps are over. Don't you have other things you would rather be doing?"

Well, if you're asking this, you obviously don't understand me.

Rhythmic has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It is the first thing I identify myself with, the No. 1 spot on my favorite things to do. I hold my apparatus as easily as I hold a pencil. So how, I ask, can you expect me to simply drop the sport I fell in love with, just because I'm "done" with high school? Getting into college didn't change my outlook on school or gymnastics -- in fact, it enforced it. Never have I been more excited about classes and my extra-curricular activities. Now I can learn for learning's sake and direct my energy to giving my best during my last months of high school and rhythmic.

Rhythmic has been a constant in my life. My schedule of school-training-homework is second nature, a familiar rhythm I embrace and easily slide into. Staying busy is not a burden but a blessing: it keeps me focused and productive. Going from school to training gives me balance in life and a refreshing change in pace. Seeing new people and doing different things allows me time to process the various facets of my life, instead of feeling overwhelmed and saturated in the same place.

"Great, Elaine," you say. "So how do you have the time for gymnastics and school?" Well, they actually complement one another. When I took a year off from rhythmic during freshman year, I found that though I had more time to do work, I was much less efficient and ended up going to sleep even later than I did when I trained.

For me, high school was my journey to discover what I truly cared about, invest myself in those passions, and ultimately grow from my experiences. Now as my high school life comes to a close, I'm going to cherish these last months before summer and make the most of them. Though I continue to reflect on the past and look toward the future, right now I'm diving into the present and enjoying what I have while I still have it. YOLO, right?