I don’t have a sweetie to celebrate with tomorrow, but if I did … I could totally see myself saying this (yes, I’m totally that person who peeks over at the speed on the treadmill next to me just to make sure I’m running faster…).
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.
Last night, a question was posed that kind of – okay, really – rubbed me the wrong way: “Do you even have the time to date someone?” My answer: “Of course I do – I would absolutely make time for the right person.”
Now, I know you’re asking … what does this have to do with fitness? Well, fitness is a priority in my life, and between teaching five classes a week and my personal workouts, it does take up a chunk of my free time. But by no means does that mean that it is my entire life. With the exception of those five hours a week, I can be pretty flexible with my schedule. And I’m totally confident that I have the time and commitment necessary to be successful with both my fitness and the right man.
The truth is, for a long time – we’re talking (gulp … yikes) most of the last six and a half years – exercise has been all I’ve had, as far as love is concerned. (That endorphin high has to come from somewhere!) There has been a void in my heart, and instead of letting it get me down, I’ve filled it with sweat and muscle soreness. But I’ve also filled it with the love of the people who join me in class, who come to me for advice, and who have been there to push me, to encourage me, and, whether they realize it or not, help me put on a happy face, even on the days that I feel crying. It’s helped me see that although I’ve been single, I’ve never truly ever been alone.
I have no problem admitting that exercise and fitness is a huge part of who I am. It wasn’t until I discovered how much I got out of it – as a former fitness manager once told me, “you were put on this planet to do this – to change people’s lives” – that I realized how happy it makes me. But could it be that the one thing that makes me happier than anything in the world could actually be keeping me from finding the one person in the world who will make me even happier? There’s nothing that could possible scare me more – because while I love the world of health and fitness, I know that there is nothing more important to me than finding someone with whom I can share my life and have a family. I don’t think it should have to be a one or the other kind of situation.
Bottom line: I do know my priorities. It’s just that I’ve found myself significantly more successful on the fitness front versus the love front, which has been more of a desert or a disaster. But I’m confident that there is an amazing man out there who not only understands and feels the same way I do, but will stand by me and be happy that I have been able to share my passion with other people (and who knows, maybe even spot me from time to time). I’m ready when he is. 🙂