I know of the many sacrifices powerlifters, as well as Olympic weightlifters and strong men make to be competitive at their sport. They give away a lot of time and miss opportunities to do their sport. Unlike other athletes, there are few chances of winning money for these sports where elite athletes of other sports make millions of dollars doing their sport, which most of the time is no where near as demanding as weightlifting.
I am only 16 and due to many of my other goals in life I pretty much gave up on becoming a competitive powerlifter, but will still continue doing the big lifts and get stronger. I go to a magnet high school and maintaining even a 3.0 GPA is hard at my school if I am lifting frequently. In one year of frequent lifting with minor injuries I went from near a 90 lb max BP (I did do a lot of calisthenics beforehand) with my skinny long-armed frame to a 240 max. I was injured so I couldn't squat or deadlift but I knew there were many more injuries in the long run.
Powerlifting is one of the greatest sports ever, I played basketball, volleyball, swimming, football, soccer, tennis and baseball but nothing ever felt like it and there is just so much desire to get better in this sport and planning your own program, getting stronger, deciding what to work on is so occupying. On the downside, I spent hours a week lifting (I did high-volume training and I was progressing way faster than low-volume work,) over an hour a day eating and being tired to study and do homework. I am going to be a junior in high school soon so I took two AP classes and dedicated myself to just school since the year just started. My goal is to go to a top university in my state (California) and become a sports medicine physician or a physical therapist as I am passionate of learning about it and helping others, but I do have a feeling of regret of not pursuing my other dream of being an elite powerlifter.
Enough with my life, I want to know how the rest of you managed to be where you are, if you think it was truly worth, obstacles you faced, and other careers or opportunities you wanted to pursue in the past. Thank you for contributing.