Milos’ Note To Future Self: “I’m At A Crossroads"
I am at a crossroads in my career, having fulfilled my original goals in tennis, while remaining short of the accomplishments of my idols … and I find myself learning to process versions of FOMO (fear of missing out) in two separate directions.
Sometimes I wonder if, by focusing on my goal, am I letting the world pass me by? Or is achieving my goal, through sheer persistence and drive, worth the sacrifices I have to make?
My biggest phobia at this point in my life is the possibility that someday I’ll look back and feel like I didn’t realise my full potential as a player. That I didn’t get to No. 1. That I didn’t win the multiple Slams.
That I missed out.
You know the ultimate answer to that question, but I don’t.
... All these years from now, I hope you haven’t forgotten how much you embraced the climb — from being unranked, to cracking the Top 50, to now.
Even if you never reached No. 1, I have faith that you continued to approach everything as meticulously as you do right now. No matter what you ended up doing after tennis, I hope you found something that channelled your passion and competitive spirit. There’s a quote from Steve Jobs, who I’ve been reading a lot about lately, that I hope you kept with you: “If today were the last day of my life,” he said, “would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been no for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
Remember how you dreamt of taking internships across all kinds of industries when you retired? I hope you explored that. I hope you went back to school, in an effort to try and refine all of those deep thoughts you were having all the time — if only so they were less messy. I hope you kept exploring: You grew up in a house where there wasn’t a ton of art and music, but in the last 18 months or so, those two fields have really started to inspire you. Spending time with Jeff Elrod in his studio in New York, and listening to John’s wife, the musician Patty Smyth, were two of the best things you did in the past year.
Right now, you are No. 4. I wonder how, in your old age, that makes you feel. I wonder what’s going to happen in the future. I wonder if I’ll climb the last three steps to No. 1. There’s a lot I can’t control. I guess that’s why I’m so meticulous about the things I can — my work ethic, my persistence, my energy.
I don’t know what is going to happen next. I just hope that when you read this, you can tell yourself, “I took every step that I thought was right, in the moment.”
If you can say that, you’ll be content, Milos.