If Michelle Ferris had one piece of advice for her younger self it would be 'just enjoy the ride'.
Unfortunately the former Australian cyclist said she learnt that lesson the hard way.
The Warrnambool export experienced a career some could only dream of, winning two Olympic silver medals, a Commonwealth Games silver and seven medals at the world championships.
But she admitted it was not always a time of her life she enjoyed.
"To be honest I think I spent a lot of years wondering why I didn't get more recognition for things," she said.
"I had many, many years of struggle and it has taken me a little while to be at ease with cycling, I would probably say I hated it for a while.
"I think I had too many expectations of what I thought I should have got out of it. I probably thought I should have got more recognition for what I did.”
Things did not improve a lot for the star cyclist after entering retirement.
Ferris, despite a successful career and being a high-profile athlete, said the transition into the ‘real world’ was more than challenging.
She said at that stage she still did not feel the love from a sport she believed she gave so much to.
"I felt I was in a little bit of a wilderness and a little bit left out of the cycling fraternity," she said.
"I probably was someone who was a little bit vocal in things and the federations might not have liked that but that is who I am.
"I guess it has taken me a few years to feel comfortable with my position and what I did and try to go from elite athlete to an everyday person and looking for a job.
"During those years where I felt I didn't know what I wanted to do, I always felt like I didn't have a university degree which made it very difficult to get the types of jobs that I wanted. I wish I had pursued that a little bit more.”
Ferris eventually found peace with herself unexpectedly a couple of years ago in Adelaide.
The 42-year-old was involved in a charity race against fellow former Australian cyclist Anna Meares.
She took part in the event to help others but revealed it was herself who benefited after a conversation with her former coach.
“I spent some time talking to Charlie Walsh who I didn't have much time for with the way that he treated myself and other females through the program,” she said.
"He apologised to me and it made a huge difference in the way that I saw cycling and my part in it and I think now that it doesn't really bother me that things have changed and I expected so much more out of it than I got.
"I had a great career and achieved many many things that I never thought were possible and I think now I can see that it’s a lot more to do with the experiences than the acknowledgment and standing out with people.
“I mean at the end of the day we’re not saving lives or doing those sorts of important things.”
The former Emmanuel College student spoke of another event which helped ease some pain.
That was being inducted into the Cycling Australia Hall of Fame earlier this month.
She became the fourth female track cyclist to be inducted, a reminder that her efforts for her country did not go unnoticed.
"I got a great amount of recognition for what I did so I don't know why I had so much more expectation,” she said.
“I guess the key is being older and looking at the world completely differently has made me feel a whole lot more at ease with myself and where I am.
"I am being recognised and haven't been forgotten and at the end of the day if I am forgotten it is no big deal and life goes on.
"And I’ve looked at what I have done and achieved, and having a daughter that I can talk to about what I have done makes me realise that the opportunities and places I got to see were a great experience and something I should be very thankful for.”
After years of reflection, admitting her career and life had more than its fair share of ups and downs, Ferris said she knows it shaped her for the better.
And she took comfort in the thought that her pain had helped others avoid it.
"I am glad I experienced what I did, I am glad it wasn't an easy ride at times,” she said.
“And I am glad that I was given the chance to pave the way for female sprint cyclists and open up doors that might not have been open because of my outspokenness or because I had the guts to stand up and ask questions and ask why.
"So when I look at my career it is nice to have the results but I think it is nice to have paved way for other females to have the opportunity achieve their dreams.
"And I say to people ‘don't be afraid to have a go or let little obstacles stand in your way’.
“And don’t let people stop you from doing what you want to do."
Ferris, who said she had always been openly gay, has embarked on the next chapter of her life, starting her own family in Sydney.
The former Warrnambool local and partner Wenche are now parents to nine-year-old daughter Paige.
It is a chapter that continues to put life into perspective for Ferris.
"It is a whole different ball game as a parent, I love it it is great and I guess that is the next phase of most people's lives,” she said.
"I have been in Sydney pretty much since the Sydney Olympics, so I moved here after that and haven't left so it is pretty good.
"I might leave it one day, but at the moment it suits my lifestyle, it is where my partner is and my daughter and my job.
"The weather is pretty good most of the time, the traffic is horrendous, but it is what it is."