What I’ve Learned About Me in My 32 Years: All You Need is Love (and Fitness)

Today is my 32nd birthday. It’s gotten me thinking about the things that I’ve accomplished – or in many cases, not accomplished – throughout the last several years. To be completely honest, I consider myself somewhat of a mess. Maybe not in the traditional sense – I have a good job, I live in a great city, I have wonderful family and friends, I’m healthy, I’ve found my life’s passion in fitness and teaching group exercise – but the rest of it? Kind of a big old mess.

I know what you’re thinking … that life doesn’t sound so bad. But when you take a look at the things that truly matter in your life, and realize that what you consider to be the most important things in life are absent, and that the people in your life just don’t understand the thing closest to your heart? Yep, we have a problem. That’s right … big old mess.

At the risk of leaving myself perhaps a little more exposed than I’d care to be, I’m going to admit something that I’m sure a lot of people would not take me seriously knowing: I know exactly what I want out of my life. And I know that the saying goes that you always want what you don’t have – but what if what I do have brings me no joy? What if I’ve just been fooling people and not being true to myself? What if I do have a vision for my future, but I’ve found myself unable to figure out how to open the box, let alone start putting together the puzzle?

What if, really, all I need is love … and fitness?

Which is where fitness comes in. I’ve had many – MANY – people tell me that I need to find something else to do with my time; something else in which I can concentrate my efforts. Find a new hobby (but I already know what I love). Find a boyfriend (you have NO IDEA how hard I’ve been trying … and failing … for more years than I’d care to admit). Take some time off, or just skip it (I won’t eliminate from my life the very thing that brings me the greatest joy). But here’s the thing: when I’m working out, or when I’m teaching a class is the one time in my day I truly feel like me. I’m the person I want to be, I exude the confidence I am unable to muster in any other setting, I’m free of worry … I truly feel alive. My best me. The me I want to be. If there is ever a time that I truly love myself – in the way that people say you have to in order to have others truly love you in return – it is when fitness is involved.

Going back to what I mentioned earlier – that I know exactly what I want from my life. I know it’s a modern era, and women are supposed to be able to do anything they set their minds to, rule the world, get the corner office, do it all. But what if the only thing I truly want is love? And I use that word in two senses – to create and nurture a family of my own, and to be able to share my love of fitness with the world? Yeah, I said it. I want to be a mom and a fitness instructor. That’s it. My goal in life. I don’t want to get all dolled up (and “use the hallway as a runway,” as I’ve been told – long story) and go sit in an office all day. I want to walk my someday kids to the bus, and drive them to soccer, and when they are in school, spend my days doing the one thing that brings me the greatest joy in my life – helping people to live healthier lives.

One of my favorite quotes comes from the founder of a company I worked for several years ago: “All I want to do is change the world; make it a better world for future generations.” I truly try to live by these words. It’s not about me. It’s not about what I can accomplish on my own – it’s what can be accomplished when we help others to achieve their goals. It’s not about money and power and prestige – it’s about caring enough to take the time to change a life. It’s about giving and sharing love, and all the beautiful things that come along with it.

So, yeah … I’m 32 today. And I may, by many standards, have accomplished a lot. But to me, none of it matters. Because I’m not yet in the position to make my life’s work revolve around my passion, and to have people take it seriously. And because I’ve discovered first hand just how incredibly difficult it is to find someone who truly gets it – gets you – and shares the mentality that it’s not about the trivial things. In the end, it all comes down to love.