The end is the beginning is the end. Not just a crappy alternative rock song from the 1990s. Beginnings and endings, endings and beginnings both play equal parts in this roller-coaster called life. No matter how many times I remind myself “the end of one thing is simply the beginning of a new adventure”; the change is still uncomfortable. Sometimes I am glad for the change and run towards it with open arms, other times, I dig my heels into the ground and am drug into the inevitable kicking and screaming. Nearly, every end and beginning is cacophony of emotion and memory. You feel the change in both your heart and your head, seemingly doubling the pain and excitement.
Recently in my life I experienced, what was for me, a major shift. For the past 3 years I had a gym home and a gym family. I worked out and trained at a small, family owned business. Every day I was greeted by the owners, I knew their families; we went out for special events together. The group that trained together nearly every day had been through the ringer. We supported each other through family loss, divorce, new children, graduation and big moves. We supported each others highs and lows. For the past three years I felt as much at home at the gym as I did at my own house, maybe even more. Not only was it part of my routine, it was a place I felt safe and supported to be myself and to try and fail at new things.
At the start of the New Year I learned the gym, in the form I had made my home, was changing. The owners were going their separate ways and everything from the posters on the walls to the classes would be adjusted.
I kept attending classes throughout the start of the transition period; but I quickly discovered I was not looking forward to going to the gym anymore. I found myself not enjoying the classes and watching the clock the entire time I was there. I found my family was split. I found my safe home was gone. I needed to make a decision: to commit to stay at the gym; riding through the rough waves, or leave and see what other opportunities were available. No matter what option I pondered, I did not have positive feelings in my head or my gut.
It was as if a wave of sadness had fallen over my life. The sun was not as bright, the vibrant blue of the sky and green of the grass were muted. The world was full of noise I could not seem to find my way through. There was an empty space, a void left that I filled in less healthy and productive manners.
Despite feeling a sense of loyalty to the owners, I decided to leave the gym. For me, I needed a break from life stress an escape from the monotony of my everyday routine. The gym used to provide that for me; however, now it had become a source of stress; therefore, I felt I was best served to step away. When I left, my heart and head were sad. I mourned the loss of the gym that was my home. I literally cried the entire way home on my last day. Deep inside I knew the gym I left was not that same gym and it was better for me to make a clean break and move on then grasp at the threads of something that no longer served me; but it was still hard.
This might seem slightly melodramatic to some of you over what could be considered a non-issue; however, we all walk different paths. Always remember you do not know what battles another is facing. Being quick to judge may not always serve you and others best. Remember, if you practice serving yourself by listening to and trusting your gut instincts with the small issues, when the major life catastrophes happen, you will be in the practice of following your gut and intuition.
Now I am in the process of searching for a new gym home, and I am excited and weary at the same time about the many opportunities that are now available. With my routine up-ended, I am floundering a bit, but I have confidence in my ability to take control of a situation and begin to mold a new future for myself. Losing my escape has also forced me to re-evaluate my life and the choices I make everyday. Now it seems blatantly obvious that I had been using the gym as a band-aid to manage a life I built for myself that does not fulfill my dreams, goals or ambitions.
For me this one event caused a chain-reaction of life assessment and in-process changes that will cause an extended transition period over the next few months. The exploration has forced me to address head on some serious life decisions I had been running from for years as I finally start pulling the band-aid off.
What is most interesting, to me, as I near the end of this first shift, this first transition; is that the end, yes it is sad, however, now that I know it is finite and done I am comfortable and resolved with the outcome. Simply having and knowing an answer makes the situation easier and more manageable. The tricky part is that transition period. That time period where you don’t know if you are in or out. Beginnings are exciting, endings are melancholy and transitions are turbulent. Rinse and repeat.
In my search for a new gym, I have tried several alternate locations; none of them are comfortable like that favorite pair of well-worn jeans, but some have potential. I have met many future friends, training partners, and trainers with a vast knowledge I can learn from. Even at the beginning of the process, I can already see how easy it would be to simply re-apply a new band-aid and continue to limp along. But armed with the determination to not slip back into old habits, I feel prepared for some challenges that lay ahead.
Implementing big change on your own is considerably tougher than having change forced upon you. But progress is impossible without change. Follow your gut and instincts, be true to yourself, and seize the day.
“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations