I didn’t start fitness to lose weight, or because of a New Year’s resolution. I started fitness mid-summer on my lunch break.
I had started a new job and a co-worker talked me into taking a noon Zumba class at our local college. I drug my feet for a few weeks and finally agreed to go.
I wasn’t overweight. I wasn’t looking to get fit. It was just something to do at lunch. I was suffering from depression and a ton of stress. My life was in turmoil. In a span of seven years, I had lost my mother, went through a divorce and custody battle, lost my father, who died as a result of health issues related to a lifelong eating disorder, I had recently remarried and we lost our house to a landslide. The insurance company didn’t pay for the loss, so we had to figure out where and how to find somewhere to live, I lost my job and was going through turmoil with my teenager.
What I didn’t know before I took that class is that I would feel better. Not physically better, but emotionally better. During that hour, my spirits lifted and that feeling stayed well past that one hour. I joined a gym and continued taking classes. I was hooked on the endorphins and serotonin. I felt relief from stress for a little while.
What started as a lunchtime diversion grew. It grew into a lifestyle I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. Not only do I feel better physically; emotionally, I can deal with what life throws at me. I can function. I can put things into perspective and realize that life goes on. You put one foot in front of the other and just keep moving. The only constant is that nothing stays the same.
Less than a year after taking my first class, I decided to get certified to teach Zumba. I am a true introvert. Nothing scared me more than getting on a stage to teach and lead others. Everyone looking at me. All those eyes. And judgment. And what if I screwed up? What if I was terrible? I shook like a leaf and almost threw up. Now, 3 years later, I have certifications in several group fitness classes, designed my own fitness class, taught boot camp, a beach body class, had personal training clients, and on and on. And I am a figure competitor.
What I didn’t plan on or look for was the benefits of being active and fit. I have the blood pressure of a healthy teen. My strength and endurance have increased. My outlook on life is completely different. I have always been a worrier and stressed over almost everything (typical Type A to the nth degree). But, physical activity has been my therapy. It has also been my health plan. I started clean eating shortly after I started lifting weights. I noticed years of stomach problems had almost completely resolved. I felt energized and just plain healthy. In essence, it has been a fountain of youth. Well, maybe not quite---- but the closest I've ever found.
It is important to step outside of your comfort zone. If something scares the crap out of you, figure out why. What’s the worst that can happen? Do your best to overcome it. If you want to make a change, you must start with yourself. I refuse to be complacent. I refuse to be stagnant.
I have a lot yet I want to accomplish. I have more dreams than years left (maybe not). I'm not done, and I'm not going to slow down anytime soon. I want to be able to continue my hobbies for years to come. I want to continue to be able to cycle, mountain bike, kayak, hike, camp and so much more.
This journey of mine began at the age of 45. 50 is right around the corner.
Life is not about finding yourself – life is about creating yourself.